Nine students to receive scholarships at broadcasters’ gala Saturday

Scholarships funded by auction, which will take place during 18th annual gala

LAS VEGASNine Nevada broadcast students will be awarded with scholarships at the Nevada Broadcasters Association’s 18th annual gala this Saturday. The scholarships are funded largely by the gala’s auction, which will take place live and online (more details below) during the Aug. 17 event.

The gala will take place at the Red Rock Hotel Casino, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd, beginning in the Charleston Ballroom and then moving to the Summerlin Ballroom.

This year, more than 20 applicants competed for the nine available Linda and Tony Bonnici Broadcast/Communications scholarships, which pay for up to 12 credits per semester for one year. Each scholarship also includes an internship in radio or TV broadcasting. Each student’s application is reviewed by a committee, and students are interviewed by phone, in person or via Skype.

Three special Bonnici scholarships are named in honor of Nevadans who have given to the community and the industry. Those scholarships include DeAnne Sheehan, Mike Geary and Gary Waddell.

Notable recipients this year include University of Nevada, Reno student Alexandria Cannito, who has received the scholarship every year of the three years it has been offered; Marcus Lavergne, a Las Vegan who recently changed his major to broadcasting; and University of Nevada, Las Vegas freshman Christina Jones, who performs in “O” by Cirque du Soleil and was introduced to broadcasting as a member of the synchronized swimming team that competed at the Beijing Olympics.

“These students, as well as the others selected for the scholarship, are the future of broadcasting,” said Bob Fisher, CEO of the Nevada Broadcasters Association. “Their dedication and talent at such young ages will benefit our industry in the future. The scholarship is meant to help them get a foot in the door to a career in the broadcasting industry, and we’re happy to have them.”

The Bonnicis are well-known Las Vegans in the broadcasting industry. Tony Bonnici worked his way up through the radio ranks and now runs Lotus Broadcasting. Linda Bonnici has worked in the industry for more than 30 years and currently is the vice president of sales at KLAS-TV, Channel 8.

The scholarships’ largest fundraisers are held during the gala’s live and silent auctions. This year, items up for bid include an all-expense paid weekend in Laguna Beach and two nights and three days at the La Casa Del Camino; a private chef for an eight-person private dinner party; autographed guitars by Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson, to name a few; and tickets to top Strip shows including Shania Twain and Motley Crue.

“This year we anticipate a record-breaking year. To take things to the next level, we’re using GiveSmart technology, which specializes in these events and allows for a totally electronic bidding experience,” said Eric Bonnici, fundraising chair for the scholarship fund.

The new system will not only simplify the bidding process for those attending the event; it also makes it possible for individuals not able to attend the event to bid on auction items. Bids can be placed by visiting http://nbagala.auction-bid.org/.

The event, which brings Nevada’s broadcast industry together once a year to honor industry achievements, isn’t reserved for just those in the broadcasting industry. The public also can purchase tickets to rub elbows with their favorite radio and television broadcasters and participate in the gala.

Individual tickets to the gala are $100, $1,000 for a table of 10. Gala sponsorships and ad space to congratulate the evening’s honorees are also still available. For more information or to reserve seats, call the Nevada Broadcasters Association at 702-794-4994.

Established in 1961, the Nevada Broadcasters Association is dedicated to protecting, promoting, enhancing and strengthening Nevada’s broadcast industry to more effectively serve the public.

As the eyes and ears of Nevada, NBA serves as an information resource for Nevada’s radio and television broadcast stations, addressing questions and concerns. The organization also responds to questions and concerns from the public, providing a better understanding of the role broadcasters play in the community.

A lobbying organization, NBA seeks to educate Nevada’s local, state and federal officials and other community leaders about the issues, concerns and challenges broadcasters face and regularly partners with the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations on initiatives. The NBA also serves as Nevada’s voice for Homeland Security, Public Warning and Nevada’s Voice for AMBER Alert.

For additional information, visit www.nbagala.com. To receive an invitation to the event, call the NBA office at 702-794-4994.

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