‘Always out love hate:’ Students awarded scholarships in memory of 49 Pulse victims

49 students awarded 49 Legacy Scholarships totaling more than $236,000

People paid their respects on Friday to the 49 lives lost at Pulse Nightclub four years ago. (Erik Sandoval, WKMG)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dozens of students will receive scholarships to honor the legacy of the “49 Angels” who died during the Pulse nightclub mass shooting nearly five years ago.

OnePulse Foundation, the nonprofit established following the June 12, 2016 mass shooting, has selected the second class of 49 Legacy Scholarship recipients awarded a combined $236,300 for the 2021-2022 academic year.

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The 49 students were selected by the foundation and the families of the 49 victims killed during the shooting. Students’ interests, careers and aspirations were all considered, including how they plan to impact the world. Family members and survivors are given priority, according to the nonprofit.

Five family members, two survivors and 10 legacy scholars from the inaugural class, five trade and technical students, 32 undergraduates and 12 graduate students were awarded scholarships, according to a news release.

Jack Cocchiarella was among those selected.

“I’m honored to receive the onePULSE Foundation Legacy Scholarship and to carry on the legacy and light of the 49 Angels,” Cocchiarella said. “I plan to study government at Dartmouth College and pursue a career in politics, and one day plan to hold public office. In everything I do, I will always out love hate.”

Valentina Diaz, another recipient, recently joined the Peace Corps and is a global and international studies major working toward a diversity and social injustice minor.

“This scholarship means the world to me. As a daughter of immigrants who paved their way to the American dream, being able to tell them that I was awarded this scholarship was mostly their accomplishment,” Diaz said.

Next month marks the 5th year since the mass shooting at the former Orlando nightclub on South Orange Avenue. OnePulse Foundation plans to host a week of activities to remember the tragedy and honor the victims.

Pulse Remembrance Week is June 5 to June 12.