Published: Nov 17, 2011 8:23 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla - Two Fort Myers High School student are named Sunshine State Scholars.

Michael D’Angelo and Cory French from Fort Myers High have been named Sunshine State Scholars winners.  Nicholas Lemon, a student at North Fort Myers High School, was named this year’s alternate.

The Sunshine State Scholars program originated in Florida in 1997 as a math and science competition. The program, founded by Dr. William Caldwell of the University of North Florida, brought together 12th-grade students from throughout the state to compete in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Many of these students did not remain in Florida for their post secondary education, so in 2010 the Florida Education Foundation resolved to stop the flow of intellectual talent from the Sunshine State.

The Foundation changed the focus of the Sunshine State Scholars program and asked each of the state’s 67 school districts to identify their top 11th-grade student in the STEM areas – these students, along with their parents and a teacher who had been a significant influence for them, travelled to Orlando for an extraordinary two-day program. This program is scheduled for February 2012.