Scholarships honoring Pulse victim presented to students

Cory Connell graduated from Edgewater High School in 2013

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Nearly 11 months after the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub, scholarships named in honor of victim Cory Connell were presented Wednesday night.

The scholarships were awarded at Connell's alma mater, Edgewater High School, where he played on the football team until he graduated in 2013.

His family took the stage to announce the two winners: Destiny Morales and Adam Williams.

"The scholarship means a lot to me," said Morales, who plans to attend Rutgers University in the fall to study pediatric psychology. "They're expecting me to to fulfill what (Cory) did in many other people's lives, and I know I'm going to be able to do that."

Williams said he's interested in sports medicine.

Erik Sandoval/WKMG

"I'd like to work hard, prove to them and show them that I deserve it," he said. "(I want to) show them the type of person that I can be."

Connell was 21 years old when he and his girlfriend went to Pulse Nightclub for a night of dancing.

He was training to be a firefighter.

In August, players on the high school's football team wore patches with Connell's initials, and his number was retired at half-time.

On Wednesday, the audience of Edgewater High School seniors and parents rose to their feet as Connell's family appeared.

Erik Sandoval/WKMG

"I was speechless. It brought tears to my eyes," said Connell's mother, Tara Connell.

She told News 6 she is proud that 11 months after her son's life was taken away, people are still talking about him.

She said she's even more proud people are still trying to live up to his standards.

"He's just touched so many lives, and they're still talking about my son to this day," Tara Connell said. "Now, they come with the scholarship award, and it means everything to our family."

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