MSD student John Renert receives Friendship Scholarship


Caitlyn Acosta

Senior John Renert is one of two winners of the Friendship Scholarship. He has been involved in many extracurriculars such as basketball, volleyball, and Best Buddies which helped him win this scholarship.

Dhaanya Balaji, Associate Design Editor

On May 21, a celebration will be held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to celebrate The Friendship Journey scholarship awarded to two students: Chase Cooper and senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, John Renert.

The Friendship Journey is a scholarship that was founded after the February 14, 2018 shooting at MSD to commemorate the friendship between two victims, Gina Montalto and Jamie Guttenburg. This scholarship was created for all children and teens with all cognitive and physical abilities. The scholarships offer between $500 to $2,000 per winner.

Renert was one of the two winners of the scholarship. He is a well rounded student as he has multiple electives like his participation in basketball and volleyball outside of school and as buddy manager of the Best Buddies club at MSD.

His leadership in Best Buddies contributed to his success as a recipient of the scholarship. The club focuses on building friendships between the general population of the school and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in MSD special needs classes. The club focuses to promote the inclusion of all individuals at MSD.

“I chose to apply to this scholarship because it has been a huge part of my life since 2019 and I especially enjoy the activities surrounding Gina and Jamie,” Renert said.

Likewise, he participates in The Friendship Journey organization where he takes part in activities that honor Gina and Jamie’s friendship. Certain activities include art, Cooking for Gina, Farm Friends, and Dance Parties for Jamie.

“The application process was very easy and came from my heart,” Renert said.

To apply for the scholarship, applicants must explain why they applied to the scholarship and how they exemplify such characteristics of friendship and inclusion. This area asked applicants about their involvement in the organization and how they will use values that were important to both Gina and Jamie throughout their lives.

The other area of the application is a short essay asking how the organization changed their views on friendship and equity and how applicants will continue their journey exemplifying these aspects after high school.

As one of the two winners of the scholarship this year, Renert stated that he is extremely proud and excited for himself.

“I am happy for me but I am also happy to honor Gina and Jamie while receiving this scholarship,” Renert said.

The Friendship Journey’s main goal is to unite all individuals of all abilities and create lasting friendships through a welcoming community. Likewise, their mission is to educate and empower all individuals with all cognitive and physical abilities

As the organization emphasizes values important to both Gina and Jamie, Renert expresses that he will continue to support the values that the two of them participated in throughout his life.