Scholarships helping send teen to music school

WOHS senior L.T. Sipek and his mother were surprised with two scholarships at a recent Windermere Town Council meeting.

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L.T. Sipek has been accepted into Florida Southern College, in Lakeland, and now he must find a way to pay for his education.

The West Orange High School senior is depending on scholarships to assist him in obtaining his degree in music education and has received two recently that will help get him there.

Both were awarded to L.T. at the April 9 Windermere Town Council meeting — but the second one came as a surprise to the Winter Garden family. Anne McDonough, representing the Windermere Arts, presented a $1,000 scholarship that will increase annually over the next four years, L.T. said.

He entertained guests at the March fine art show on his tuba. At his feet, he had placed his open instrument case for anyone who felt led to make a donation. His accompanying sign read: “Support heavy metal ­— donate here.”

The Windermere Town Council also surprised L.T. and his mother at the council meeting with $1,000 from the Windermere Police Department Foundation. This charity was established in 2014 after the death of Officer Robbie German to benefit Windermere residents, as well as employees and families of the police department.

“They had told me (about) the first one … but the second scholarship from the foundation came completely out of left field,” L.T. said. “It was very surprising. I’ve been helping out with the foundation for a long time. My mom is a part of it, and a lot of times I help out.”

Lori Sipek, a single mother who is employed by the Windermere Police Department, calls the scholarships a Godsend.

“It really helps out, because without these opportunities he wouldn’t be able to attend this college,” she said. “As a single parent who was in the military, a lot of the opportunities to do things like Florida Prepaid we couldn’t do because we didn’t live in Florida.”

Florida Southern, a private college, has awarded a music scholarship to L.T. worth $27,000 per semester, Sipek said, but other education costs not covered will run about $15,000 per semester.

“This is his dream, and I’m doing what I can for him,” Sipek said. “He’s doing what he can, too.”

L.T. is grateful for the support he has received and is looking for opportunities this summer to play his tuba so he can contribute to the costs of college. After college, he plans to teach music or give music lessons while attending law school.

The musician also plays the sousaphone in the West Orange High Warrior Band and bass trombone in the school’s jazz band.





Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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