Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott Commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, Honor Student and Teacher Contest Winners

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott will host a reception this evening celebrating the contributions of Hispanic community leaders, educators, and students. Governor Scott will announce the winners of the 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month contests, including the Excellence in Education Award, and recognize Puerto Rico artist Elizabeth Baez as this year’s featured artist.

“During Hispanic Heritage Month, we take time to recognize how Florida’s growing Hispanic population enriches our state and strengthens Florida’s cultural and economic ties to Spain, Latin America and beyond,” Governor Scott said. “The diversity of Florida’s people and cultures truly makes our state one of the most vibrant in our country.”

“I congratulate all of Florida’s students who participated in the Hispanic Heritage Month contests for taking the time to learn more about some of the people who make Florida a great place to live,” Mrs. Scott said.

Featured artist Elizabeth Baez is a Latina born in Brooklyn, New York of Puerto Rican parents. Baez celebrates her bicultural perspective as a Nuyorican who had the fortunate opportunity to grow up both in New York City and in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Governor and Mrs. Scott will honor three outstanding Hispanic educators with the Excellence in Education Award. These individuals were nominated by students and peers, and each will receive $1,500 at the Governor’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Excellence in Education award winners are:

  • Dr. Lyna Jimenez-Ruiz – Pine View School in Osprey (Technology educator – Grades 9-12)
  • Sergio Andre – Okeeheelee Middle School in Greenacres (Social Studies in Spanish educator – Sixth Grade)
  • Angelica Perez- Crystal Lake Elementary School in Lakeland (ESOL educator – Grades K-5)

Three student essay-contest winners – one elementary, one middle-school, and one high school student – will also be honored by the Governor and First Lady. Winners will receive a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Student essay contest winners are:

  • Matthew Newsome – Devon Aire K-8 Center in Miami (5th Grade)
  • Michael Hampton – Pine View School in Osprey (6th Grade)
  • Janet Meza – T. Dewitt Taylor High School in Pierson (12th Grade)

One art-contest winner will also be recognized. The winner will receive $250, which will be awarded at the Governor’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Student art contest winner is:

  • Kevin McAfee – St. Mark’s School in Jacksonville (2nd Grade)

The Hispanic Heritage Month reception is supported by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. Additional sponsors include Walmart, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Publix Super Markets Inc, Wells Fargo, and Prudential.

About Hispanic Heritage Month

Several Latin American countries celebrate the anniversaries of independence during Hispanic Heritage Month. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate independence on September 15. Mexico achieved independence on September 16, and Chile, on September 18. Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated in the United States since 1974 when President Gerald Ford issued a Presidential Proclamation extending Hispanic Heritage Week into a month-long celebration, from September 15 through October 15.


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