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Press Release

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Governor’s Press Office
(850) 488-5394

Governor Crist Commemorates Black History Month, Honors Student and Teacher Contest Winners

~ Recognizes Black History Month and Points of Light volunteers ~

TALLAHASSEE – To celebrate Black History Month, Governor Charlie Crist this evening will host a reception celebrating the contributions of African-American community leaders, educators, students and volunteers at the Governor’s Mansion. The Governor will announce the winners of the 2010 Black History Month contests, including the Excellence in Education Award, as well as the Governor’s Points of Light winners for Black History Month.

“It is an honor to celebrate the cultural and economic contributions of African-Americans in Florida and across our country,” said Governor Crist. “The role the African-American community plays in our state is truly appreciated not only during Black History Month, but also throughout the entire year.”

The Governor will honor three outstanding African-American educators with the Excellence in Education Award. These individuals were nominated by students and peers, and each will receive an award check for $1,500 plus a $300 gift card from the Office Depot Foundation.

Excellence in Education award winners are:

  • Delmar Wilson –Miami Springs Senior High School in Miami Springs, 9th grade, Algebra I
  • Tammy Demps –Carver Middle School in Leesburg, 8th grade, Social Studies
  • Makita Blye –Greenway Elementary School in Ocala, 1st grade, all standard elementary school subjects

Three student essay-contest winners will also be honored by the Governor. Winners of the essay contest will receive a four-year college scholarship from Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Student essay-contest winners are:

  • Louis Zanders – Gadsden Elementary Magnet School in Midway, 5th grade
  • Robert Bacchus – St. Lucie West K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, 9th grade
  • Asjah Nero – Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, 12th grade

Two art-contest winners and winners of the webcast contest will also be recognized. The art contest winners will receive a $250 gift card, and the webcast-contest winners will receive software donated by TECH 4 Learning.

Student art-contest winners are:

  • Omar Chab – Norma Butler Bossard Elementary School in Miami, 1st grade
  • Lianne Ramirez – Arch Creek Elementary School in North Miami, 3rd grade

Webcast-contest winners are:

  • Amanda Ortiz, Gabriela Iglesias, Karla Cedras – Norma Butler Bossard Elementary School in Miami
  • Rudolph Sinflorant, Hayley Brand, Hunter Sullivan – Dunnellon Middle School in Dunnellon
  • Joshua Ballein, Julieta Viteri – Frances Marion Military Academy in Ocala

The Governor will also recognize this month’s Points of Light winners, sponsored by AAA Auto Club South, honoring Black History Month:

  • Joshua Williams of Miami Beach – At age 5, Williams recognized that hunger existed in his community. In response to this misfortune, Williams created Joshua’s Heart, a foundation committed to ridding world hunger, beginning with South Florida families. Williams, now age 9, is active in fundraising efforts and raising awareness, often appearing on local and national television broadcasts to discuss his foundation’s mission. Joshua’s Heart feeds over 400 families each month. Williams has received many awards for his work including the Miami Children’s Hospital “I Make A Difference Award,” the City of Miami’s Do the Right Thing Award, and a National Points of Light Award.
  • Pastor Ken Scrubbs of Fruitland Park – For over 10 years, Scrubbs has been an integral part of helping at-risk youth in Central Florida. Through tutoring, mentoring, and counseling at youth ministries, Scrubbs is committed to keeping at-risk youth on a responsible path. Scrubbs is the director of the Genesis Youth Center and coordinator of Lake County School System Campus Ministry. He has been an active participant in public policy discussion, having served on the Governor’s Faith-Based Advisory Board, the 2007 Florida Drop-Out Prevention Task Force, the Department of Education Faith & Community Based Advisory Council, and the African-American Republican Leadership Advisory Council. He was also an appointed panelist at the Partnerships Workshops for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiative Conference. Governor Crist also appointed Scrubbs to the Florida Disaster Recovery Fund Advisory Council in 2007 and the Florida Attorney General’s Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community.
  • Derrick Brooks of Tampa – Fourteen years ago, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer football player Derrick Brooks founded Derrick Brooks Charities, an organization committed to securing educational opportunities for youths with socio-economic challenges. Brooks was the first player in NFL history to have two separate charities receive NFL Charities grants. The Derrick Brooks Charities’ 1st & Goal Program strives to prepare its students for college or a professional career. To date, 53 children have achieved this goal. In addition to his charity work, Brooks serves on the boards of Florida State University Trustees, the Florida Education Foundation, St. Leo University, and Brooks-DeBartolo Charities Inc. Governor Crist also appointed Brooks to serve as chairman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Brooks has received several awards for his involvement in the community including the 2000 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, the 2004 Bryon “Whizzer” White Award, and was recognized by the NFL Player’s Association with the 2008 JB Award.
  • Bernard and Shirley Kinsey - The Kinsey Collection: The Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey highlights significant African-American art and artifacts. The exhibit features works of art by important African-American artists such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, William H. Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, and Henry O. Tanner; as well as historical documents and artifacts of Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Alain Locke, Phillis Wheatley, and Malcolm X. When viewed as a whole, the collection chronicles the contributions of African-Americans from the 1600s to the present. The collection is a public-private partnership and has received the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Services. The Kinseys, both Palm Beach natives, have also been instrumental in fostering a partnership between their alma mater, Florida A&M University (FAMU), and The Mary Brogan Museum in Tallahassee to provide FAMU students with a museum membership. For just one dollar each, 13,000 students can now visit the collection. Before the exhibition travels to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., The Kinsey Collection will continue to be on display at The Mary Brogan Museum until March 21, 2010.

The Black History Month reception is supported by Signature sponsor Florida Prepaid College Foundation and Supporting sponsor Prudential. Additional sponsors include Scholastic Inc., Coca-Cola Enterprises Florida and the Coca-Cola Company, Bethune-Cookman University, the Florida Lottery, Tech4Learning Incorporated and the Office Depot Foundation. The Florida Department of State and The Mary Brogan Museum are Black History Month 2010 partners.

The Black History Month Celebration was developed by the Governor’s Volunteer Florida Foundation, the Executive Office of the Governor and the Governor’s Mansion Foundation. For more information on Florida’s celebration of Black History Month, please visit www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.