Winter Garden, FL., – Each year the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the West Orange Foundation, celebrates outstanding students at its annual Education Awards Ceremony. Graduating high school seniors who are recipients of the Danniel J. Petro Scholarship, and fifth, eighth and eleventh grade recipients of the SOAR award are honored and presented with their awards. This year, the Chamber and Foundation awarded five scholarships and 27 SOAR awards.

Dignitaries, educators representing area schools, family and friends joined the celebration to offer support and praise for this deserving group of students. A few notables on hand to help honor the award recipients were Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, Orange County Commissioner Nicole Wilson, Pam Gould, Orange County School Board – District 4, Melissa Byrd, Orange County School Board – District 7, and WOCC Chair Dr. Kimberly Hardy.

The Danniel J. Petro Scholarship fund was established to make it possible for eligible students from local high schools in Orange County, both public or private, to further their education at one of the following educational institutions: Valencia College, Orange Technical College, or the University of Central Florida.

The West Orange Foundation was able to fund this year’s scholarship program through the generosity of the Petro Family Foundation and its scholarship partners Duke Energy, Staples and CITE Centers – Winter Garden Village. Administration and implementation of the program is provided by the West Orange Chamber of Commerce.

The SOAR program, Students of Achievement and Renown, also recognizes students in the West Orange area. It is an award of merit for students who have shown initiative, good citizenship, commitment, and personal growth in the classroom.  SOAR Awards are only presented to students in fifth, eighth or eleventh grade meeting certain criteria.

Kudos to all of our award recipients!

About West Orange Foundation

The West Orange Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization which serves as the community-based, philanthropic arm of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce. With a vision of creating broader community reach, streamlining the Chamber’s philanthropic and community outreach programs, and the engagement of more industries and businesses, the Foundation supports many of the Chamber’s initiatives. The Foundation prides itself on supporting non-profit organizations and those in the local workforce who truly make a difference in the lives of those in the West Orange community. Learn more, by visiting

About West Orange Chamber of Commerce

Founded in 1972, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) serves as the leading business advocate in Central Florida by advancing community, collaboration, and leadership for over 1,150 member businesses. Learn more on how the West Orange Chamber of Commerce can help grow your business, by visiting