Since 1987, Santa Fe College has celebrated Women’s History Month by honoring the achievements of women in Alachua and Bradford counties during their annual Women of Distinction and Promise ceremony.
Women of Distinction are women who have enriched the community through their contributions to the arts, business, education, social services, government and other philanthropic ventures. These extraordinary women are examples for all women, balancing careers, families and community service, while making our community a better place for everyone.
SF also recognizes Women of Promise – young women in the community who are following in the footsteps of women before them, involving themselves in community activities while working toward a college degree.
This year, the college will recognize four Women of Distinction and one Woman of Promise during the ceremony held Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at the UF Hilton. Tickets and sponsorship information is available at sfcollege.edu/wod.
About the 2023 Women of Distinction:
Dr. Bea Awoniyi
Bea Awoniyi was born in Nigeria, where the education of girls was not considered a priority at the time. Her drive to pursue education has led her to Santa Fe College, where she serves as Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, oversees the Disability Resource Center the Displaced Homemaker Program, the National Achievers Program, the My Brother’s Keeper Program, and serves as the Ombudspersonand serves as the college’s Ombudsperson.
Dr. Bea, as she is known around the college, is an active member of the community, serving on the board of the Education Foundation of Alachua County the Center for Independent Living, and the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. She also serves on the board for Eye to Eye, which works with middle and high school students who learn differently or are neurodivergent to help develop strong social-emotional, connection, and leadership skills.
She also sees herself as a “Care Ambassador” to Santa Fe College, adding “my community of service is first, Santa Fe College. We have many needs in this community—we have students who only want to do better, but many times, the cards are stacked against them. I want to stand by them. I want to stand with them. I want to cheer them on, and when their voice is not heard or not heard enough, I want to be their voice.”
Annette Bauer was a force to be reckoned with. An entrepreneur and visionary with a heart for community service and education, she created a lasting impact on the community. Regrettably, Annette passed away in 2020, but her legacy and impact on those around her are everlasting.
As a pioneer of the ACB Excel program at Santa Fe College, Annette envisioned a dual-generational program that would simultaneously allow parents and their school-aged children access to academic programs and services. ACB Excel saw its first cohort complete the program last year, and a new class of hopefuls will begin in 2023.
Her dream was to follow in her father’s footsteps and create a first-class design and construction company. She made this dream a reality when she founded Blakeland Construction, LLC. Blakeland Construction has become a household name, providing services to Santa Fe College, University of Florida, and various military bases throughout the southeast. Blakeland received recognition as a Gator 100 recipient for several years, achieving its highest ranking of 2nd in the Nation in 2017.
In addition to these stellar achievements, Annette took time to give back to her community. She was passionate about helping her community and participated in Guardian ad Litem, dedicating her time to helping children in need of care and support.
Yvette Carter didn’t have a set career path in mind when she first moved to Gainesville 30 years ago to attend the University of Florida. However, she naturally began to gravitate towards what would become her life’s purpose, being in service to others. As the Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations at the City of Gainesville for the past 11 years, Yvette has been instrumental in maintaining outreach, partnerships, engagement, and investments within the community.
Her passion for being of service to others is particularly felt for empowering youth and women. She believes that women are essential in order for any community to thrive and are the backbone of not just our local community but communities across the world. Her belief in supporting young women is instrumental because “they are not only our future, but they are our present.”
She is active in the community, and involved in numerous local non-profit organizations and community advisory teams. Some of them include the Greater Gainesville Chamber’s Foundation, where she is the chair/president, and the Alachua County Branch of the NAACP, where she is an executive board member.
“This is my mission in life, so I gladly lend my voice and sweat equity to these causes. Giving back to the community is my personal ministry. It is the core of who I am.”
Lisa Prevatt has always loved children and giving back to the community. As a graduate of Santa Fe College, she embarked on a 10-year career in Nuclear Medicine Technology before entering the field of education where she taught elementary education for 12 years and then earning a master’s degree in Educational Administration. She then worked as an assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent for over nine years. She is also a Trustee Emeritus at Santa Fe College.
“There is so much more to teaching than knowledge and skills. When a caring relationship is established, students will want what you have to share and teach them. Think of a nest of baby birds willingly and excitedly opening their little beaks to take in and ingest the nurturing food. Frighten them, and their beaks shut tightly, closing off any sustenance they need.”
Lisa credits her mother as the source of inspiration in her life and career. “She is a sweet and loving lady, but she didn’t always have an easy life. She didn’t let setbacks shut her down but kept putting one foot in front of the other. That determination inspired me. She insisted that I get an education so I wouldn’t have to depend on anyone else to take care of me, and I listened.”
About the 2023 Woman of Promise:
As a dual-enrolled student while in high school, Emma Hutto graduated from Florida Gateway College with her Associate of Arts degree. She has since been accepted into the Nursing program at Santa Fe College where her goal is to become a pediatric ICU nurse was the path for her. “Being a nurse will allow me to build a relationship with my patients, and it offers so many jobs. Once I realized I could have a job where I could help kids, I made my decision.”
Emma volunteers in a variety of activities, including being a leader for the past three years at her church camp. She also reads to children at summer school. “I was raised in a family that taught the importance of giving back to the community.”
Education has always been an important part of Emma’s life. With influence from her grandmother and mother, who are both involved in the school system, she was always taught the importance of education and feels that Santa Fe College is the best place for her to accomplish those goals.
“My biggest advice that I could give would be that you need a support system. I seriously do not know where I would be without my family and friends.”