1 Mekora

Hispanic Heritage Organization Essay Contest Scholarships

October 30, 2017
(850) 717-9282

Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott Announce Hispanic Heritage Month Contest Winners


TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  – Today, Governor Scott and First Lady Ann Scott announced the 2017 Hispanic Heritage Month student and teacher contest winners. This year’s theme was “A Recognition of the Role of Hispanic-Americans in Shaping Florida Today,” and the winners were honored during the annual Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Florida Governor’s Mansion.

Governor Scott said, “Ann and I are proud to recognize these great students and teachers who participated in the Hispanic Heritage Month contests. Our state’s history has, and continues to be, shaped by Hispanic Floridians and I’m glad so many students took the opportunity to explore Florida’s history while having the opportunity to earn a college scholarship.”

First Lady Ann Scott said, “I’m so proud of the students and educators who participated in this year’s contests and Floridians across the state who joined us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Congratulations to these outstanding contest winners, especially the deserving students who earned a college scholarship.”

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart said, “Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for Florida students to learn about the many Hispanic-Americans whose hard work and innovation make Florida the best state in the nation. I am proud to recognize the Excellence in Education Award recipients for ensuring Hispanic students and their families have the information and resources necessary to succeed and for sharing their passion for Hispanic heritage in their schools and communities. I also commend the three students who earned 4-year Florida College Plan scholarships through the Hispanic Heritage Month essay contest; this is a life-changing opportunity to accomplish their education goals, and I am confident they will make the most of it.”

Volunteer Florida Chief Executive Officer Vivian Myrtetus said, “Volunteer Florida is honored to join Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott to present awards to these outstanding students and educators. We are incredibly grateful for the many partners who made the recognition event possible – particularly the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, which provided three, 4-year Florida College Plan scholarships. Volunteer Florida was also thrilled to present the Champion of Service Award to an outstanding college student and service leader.”

Award recipients are as follows:

Essay winners:

Elementary School Category: Ayan Nallamshetty
Fifth grade, MacFarlane Park Elementary, Hillsborough County

Middle school Category: Charleigh Ann Wood
Sixth grade, Pasco Middle School, Pasco County

High School Category: Lina Neraas
Twelfth grade, J.R. Arnold High School, Bay County

Excellence in Education Award winners:

Elementary School Category: Gloria Matos, Greensboro Elementary School, Gadsden County

Middle School Category: Tzeitel Chacon-Rosado, FAU Lab School, Palm Beach County

High School Category: Romina Jannotti, Paul J. Hagerty High School, Seminole County

Student Art Contest winners:

Noah Henry, Coral Reef Elementary, Miami-Dade County
Title of art: “Spring”

Sophia Maxine Gatdula, Wyndham Lakes Elementary Schools, Orange County
Title of art: “Latin Florida”

Honorable Mention: Gabriel H. Mikati, Pinewood Elementary, Martin County
Title of art: “Florida Melting Pot”


Foundation awards college scholarships to Hispanic Heritage Month winners

Three Florida students can now attend four years at a Florida college for free after writing winning essays about Hispanic Americans and their contributions to our state.

The Florida Prepaid College Foundation recently awarded 4-Year Florida College Plan scholarships to the elementary, middle and high school winners of the Governor’s Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest.

“The caliber of the essay responses were exceptional, with the winning students truly grasping the accomplishments made by these Hispanic American heroes,” said Florida Prepaid College Foundation Director, Cynthia O’Connell.

This is the 14th year that the Florida Prepaid College Foundation has awarded scholarships to Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest winners.

“It has been a longstanding sponsorship that we are proud to support,” O’Connell said.

If you purchase a Florida Prepaid Plan and your child receives a scholarship, you can get a refund for the same amount as the plan would pay a public college or university in Florida.

The winning students were Ayan Nallamshetty, a fifth-grader from Tampa; Charleigh Wood, a sixth-grader from Dade City; and Lina Neraas, a 12th-grader from Panama City.

Neraas focused her essay on the contributions of Maria Mestre Delores de los Andrue, who in 1860 became St. Augustine’s first female Hispanic American lighthouse keeper.

“Andue’s accomplishments have stood as a beacon for the empowerment and opportunity of women and Hispanic-Americans in Florida, showing that physical and social limitations can be overcome by hard work and willingness to learn,” Neraas wrote. You can read the rest of her essay here, Nallamshetty’s essay here, and Wood’s essay here.

Chancellor of the Florida College System and Foundation Board Member Madeline Pumariega emceed the reception for winners at the Governor’s Mansion.

The Florida Prepaid College Foundation was proud to work with Volunteer Florida, Department of Education and the Executive Office of the Governor who coordinated logistics of the event.

Hispanic Heritage Month contest entries are due each September. Learn more about the contest at http://www.floridahispanicheritage.com/student-contests/.

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *