Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month Student, Teacher Contest Winners

Tallahassee, FL (STL.News) Monday night, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the Hispanic Heritage Month student contest winners and Excellence in Education Award recipients.  This year’s theme was “Celebrating Public Service” and the winners were honored during the Hispanic Heritage Month awards ceremony at the Florida Governor’s Mansion.  Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year in Florida from September 15 through October 15.

“Ron and I were honored to celebrate the work of some of our state’s most talented students, teachers and artists as we announced the winners of Florida’s Hispanic Heritage Month student contests and Excellence in Education Award recipients,” said First Lady DeSantis.  “In addition, we were excited to highlight the artwork of Virginia Larrea, a native of Ecuador who now lives and works in Tampa as an architect, interior designer and painter and whose art is collected and celebrated around the world.”

“As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I join our Governor and First Lady in applauding all that Hispanics have done to enrich our state,” said Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez.  “Congratulations to the winners of the Excellence in Education Award.  Your grace and hard work honor the Hispanic American culture we celebrate in Florida.”

“Thank you to Governor DeSantis and First Lady DeSantis for hosting the 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, and congratulations to this year’s student and educator contest winners,” said Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.  “Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to recognize how Hispanic Americans have contributed greatly to Florida’s rich history.  I commend the student participants for taking this opportunity to learn more about Hispanic American public servants, past and present, and to celebrate the hard-working educators who share those contributions and inspire Florida’s students.”

“Hispanic culture is deeply woven in our state’s history, and as Florida’s Chief Cultural Officer I am thrilled to celebrate the significant and lasting contributions of the Hispanic community on the Sunshine State,” said Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee.“  Congratulations to the winners of the student art and essay contests whose work captured this year’s theme so well and to the teachers who were honored with the Excellence in Education Award.”

“Volunteer Florida was proud to join Governor DeSantis and First Lady DeSantis to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram.  “By recognizing the winning students and teachers, we celebrate the Hispanic leaders who have contributed to Florida’s rich history with their vibrant culture and unique talents and skills.”

Award recipients are as follows:

The following student essay contest winners – one elementary, one middle and one high school student – earned a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Student Essay Contest Winners

Julieta Ramirez, Pine Forest School of the Arts, Duval County

Julieta wrote about Judge Tatiana Radi Salvador, a member of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida that covers Clay, Duval and Nassau counties

Chloe Mason Norman, Oakleaf Junior High, Clay County

Chloe wrote about her great grandmother, Rosa Pallas, a Cuban immigrant who earned two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree and went on to become one of the nation’s most outstanding educators (Slippery Rock College, Pennsylvania) and an author.

Jack Fitzgerald, J.P. Taravella High School, Broward County

Jack wrote about Maria Mestre de Los Dolores Andreu, who became the first Hispanic-American to operate a federal coastal installation – the St. Augustine lighthouse – and the first female employee in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Student Art Contest Winners

Emile Hall, Narcoossee Elementary, Osceola County

Emile is a first-grader who drew a picture she titled “Celebrating Hispanic Community Healthcare Workers.”

Benjamin David, Everglades K-8 Center, Miami-Dade County

Benjamin is a second-grader who drew a picture he titled “My Uncle Orlando” depicting a law enforcement officer delivering water.

First Lady Casey DeSantis also honored three outstanding educators with the Excellence in Education Award.  The recipients were nominated by students and peers.

Excellence in Education Award Winners

Isabel Cavaliere Enrique, Keene’s Crossing Elementary, Orange County

Isabel, who learned English herself after immigrating from Venezuela, teaches English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Science and has been teaching for more than 34 years.  Isabel demonstrates her dedication to teaching by arriving on campus before the sun, working late working with parents, raising her grandson and working a second job on weekends.

Susana Carlino, Conniston Middle School, Palm Beach County

Susan teaches social studies and encourages her students to embrace their Hispanic heritage, frequently speaking to them in both Spanish and English.  She brings back information from her travels and continuing studies, encouraging an understanding of the rights and duties of American citizenship.

Jorge Bauzo, Chipley High School, Washington County

Jorge teaches Spanish I and II but also helps students with industry certifications, SAT/ACT preparation, graduation requirements, extracurricular activity transportation, all while pursuing his doctorate in Education.  In the past five years, Jorge has been Teacher of the Year three times.

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