Wes Fegely of South Walton High School was one of 19 top performing STEM students who was recently recognized as a Sunshine State Scholar and given the opportunity to attend a two-day event in Orlando Feb.13-14.

Each school district throughout Florida selected their top 11th grade student based on their academic achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). These students, along with their parents and a teacher chosen by each student, were invited to participate in the annual Sunshine State Scholars program.

The Sunshine State Scholars program is sponsored by the Florida Education Foundation, in collaboration with the State University System of Florida, the Florida College System, and the Florida Department of Education. It began in 1997 to recognize excellence in Mathematics and Science.

Those being honored this year are from the small rural school districts participating in the FloridaLearnsStem Scholars Initiative for Gifted and Talented Students. In addition to recognizing their academic success, the Sunshine State Scholars program gave these STEM students the opportunity to meet directly with highly successful professionals from STEM-related industries in Florida and with recruiters from Florida’s finest colleges and universities.

During the event, the students heard about special programs of study and industry internship opportunities, learned about some of the latest innovations and discoveries in STEM-related research, were inspired by personal success stories from leaders in Florida’s STEM industry, and were actively recruited to become part of Florida’s future talented workforce. The scholars also enjoyed meeting with students from around the state who had similar interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.