Gary Personette Honored as Champions For Learning’s Heart of the Apple Recipient

Champions For Learning is honored to announce Gary Personette as the 2022-2023 Heart of the Apple recipient. Each year, Champions For Learning awards the Heart of the Apple in recognition of sustained and committed leadership in support of building the culture of learning in our community through the mission of Champions For Learning.

Helping young adults achieve their greatest protentional is something Gary excels at. Gary has been a volunteer with Champions For Learning for over ten years, starting with the Golden Gate High School pilot program. During his time, he has mentored five Champions For Learning students. Gary has been a Board member, an Ambassador, a selection committee volunteer, a financial aid coach, and an event volunteer.

Gary was instrumental in bringing the successful Incubator EDU Entrepreneurship program to public schools throughout Collier County, preparing young people in an ever-changing global environment to be creative and resilient problem solvers and critical thinkers. Through his unwavering spirit, Collier County Public Schools implemented the program. It was first established in all of the Collier County public high schools where it soon after was to all middle schools. This year, the program has been expanded all to way to our elementary schools.

Due to the of the success and expansion of the program, Champions For Learning now provides support to the entrepreneurship program and program volunteers. This is an amazing opportunity for Champions For Learning to further support entrepreneurship in our community. As a former Wealth Manager for Wells Fargo, Gary exemplifies excellence both in the community and professionally.

“We are proud to honor Gary who has had a significant impact on the youth and education of Collier County. His dedication to entrepreneurship and helping the next generation has impacted countless lives,” said Barbara Evans, CEO of Champions For Learning. “Gary truly embodies the Heart of the Apple award.”

Gary was honored at an intimate reception on November 16, 2022, at Royal Poinciana Golf Club. Through the support shown at this event, it is evident the community recognizes the impact Gary has had on education and the youth of Collier County.

Gary will be honored again at Champions For Learning’s signature event, Night of Champions on February 25, 2023 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, along with this year’s Champions. Opportunities to sponsor and attend the event are available. For more information on event sponsorships and ticket sales contact Jason Kurek at

View additional pictures from the Heart of the Apple Reception by clicking here.