Step Up For Students Scholarship Program Honors Miami Beach Teacher and $25 Million Donor, Southern Wine & Spirits

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Step Up For Students Scholarship Program Hosts Event at Miami Beach School to Honor Donor and Distinguished Teacher

Southern Wine & Spirits presents its contribution to Step Up For Students. Left to right: Rep. Richardson, Sen. Margolis, Rep. Campbell, Mrs. Dana Sostchin, Wayne E. Chaplin, John Kirtley & Rep. Diaz

We at Southern believe that a quality education is the best path to a successful future. For this reason—and in the spirit of giving back to the Florida communities we operate in—Southern is proud to do its part by partnering with Step Up For Students.

Two contributors vital to the success of the Step Up For Students, the nonprofit organization that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, were honored Friday morning at Yeshiva Elementary School: A teacher and a top donor.

First-grade teacher Dana Sostchin, who was awarded a Governor's Shine Award on Sept. 24 in Tallahassee, and representatives from Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) joined nearly 200 students, parents and legislators on Friday, Oct. 4, at Yeshiva Elementary for a celebratory event.

“I am truly honored and flattered to accept this recognition on behalf of our school,” said Sostchin, who has been teaching at the school for more than 20 years. “And in doing so, I wish to acknowledge the rest of our outstanding faculty, administration, staff, students, and parents here at Y.E.S., as I believe it is this atmosphere of dedication and mutual respect that encourages all of us to help and learn from each other, and makes our school such a special place.”

During the event, Wayne E. Chaplin, president & chief operating officer of Southern—one of Step Up’s largest donors—announced the company is redirecting $25 million this year. This brings the company’s total contribution to $60 million since 2010. Chaplin also presented a contribution of school supplies from Southern Wine & Spirits’ office supply partner, Staples, to the school.

“We at Southern believe that a quality education is the best path to a successful future,” said Chaplin. “For this reason—and in the spirit of giving back to the Florida communities we operate in—Southern is proud to do its part by partnering with Step Up For Students. Through our support of Step Up For Students scholarships, our company has helped more than 13,000 students attend schools like Yeshiva Elementary,” added Chaplin.

Step Up Chairman and Founder John Kirtley noted that the success of the program is dependent on the spirit of collaboration.

“I am so grateful for both Ms. Sostchin’s and Southern’s contributions to the education of these children. Because of the efforts from dedicated teachers, legislators and donors, about 60,000 students this school year are receiving an education that their families have hand-picked,” he said. “Today is a great example of the amazing things we can accomplish when we come together for the success of our children.”

Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr. of Hialeah, who also spoke, congratulated Sostchin on her achievements and praised the collective efforts of legislators, schools, parents, teachers and donors that allow the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program to grow.

“Education is an issue that concerns every single one of us,” said Diaz, who serves as the Dean of Doral College in Miami. “We each play a part in the future success of our state’s children, and it’s important to help families find the best learning options for their individual needs, regardless of their income. The Step Up program and its donors are helping families obtain those options.”

Nearly 60,000 Florida students are benefiting from the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program this school year, including 160 students at Yeshiva Elementary. This year’s scholarship is worth up to $4,880.

Sen. Margolis, Rep. Campbell, and Rep. Richardson also attended the event.

About Step Up For Students

Step Up For Students is the nonprofit organization responsible for administering the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The scholarship program is available to students who qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program and provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice or transportation help to an out-of-district public school. Scholarships are funded by corporations that receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their contributions. For more information, visit http://www.StepUpForStudents.org.

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs nearly 14,500 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see: http://www.southernwine.com.

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