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Press Release

Monday, January 25, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Lt. Governor Celebrates Literacy

~ Weeklong celebration highlights significance of reading and literacy in all professions ~

TALLAHASSEE – In celebration of the importance and joy of reading, Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp kicked off the 2nd Annual Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! in the Capital Rotunda today alongside student performers from Gadsden Elementary Magnet School. The weeklong celebration highlights the significance that literacy plays in the educational process and the lifelong benefits it provides to individuals that make reading a daily part of their lives. This year’s Celebrate Literacy, Florida! public service announcement (PSA) contest winners were also on hand to receive their awards from literacy-partner Walt Disney World.

“Each and every day, we are surrounded with opportunities to share our love of reading with those around us,” said Lt. Governor Kottkamp. “I’m excited to celebrate this week with students and teachers and encourage all Floridians to become reading leaders and mentors within their communities.”

Joining Lt. Governor Kottkamp for the celebration were Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, Chancellor of Public Schools Dr. Frances Haithcock, Florida’s Surgeon General Dr. Ana Viamonte-Ros, Capitol Police Director Dennis Bustle, and partners from numerous organizations including Scholastic and Volunteer USA Foundation, among others. In addition, the first and only horse in the country enrolled in a public school, named Tuffy, was also on hand to promote reading to students.

“The ability to read opens many worlds for kids, enables them to learn about far off places, people and things,” said Commissioner Bronson. “But they may not realize it until they are motivated by others who use unique methods to inspire literacy.”

Winning schools of the Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! PSA contest were awarded gift cards including $1,000 for first prize, $500 for second prize and $250 for third prize. This year’s PSA winners are as follows:

  • Elementary School
    • First Place: South Lake Elementary, Brevard County
    • Second Place: Clay Hill Elementary, Clay County
    • Third Place: Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Deaf Elementary Gore Hall
  • Middle School
    • First Place: Teague Middle, Seminole County
    • Second Place: East Ridge Middle, Lake County
    • Third Place: Dunnellon Middle, Marion County
  • High School
    • First Place: Marchman Technical Education Center, Pasco County
    • Second Place: Cypress Lake High School, Lee
    • Third Place: Deltona High School, Volusia

Literacy week promotes reading throughout the state by raising awareness of the programs and projects offered by Florida’s Department of Education and its partner organizations. Activities throughout the week will promote the enjoyment of reading for children and adults of all ages. Other events this week include a special literary discussion with author Julianna Baggott at Griffin Middle and Pineview Elementary schools in Leon County, where she will use her stories to encourage students as young authors and advocate the strengthening of literacy skills in order to become more successful as adults. In addition, read-alouds will be held by health and law enforcement personnel in schools and libraries throughout the state.

For more information about Literacy week and a list of statewide events, visit http://www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp.