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Monday, February 14, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Panhandle's Top Stem Students to be Honored in Orlando

Florida’s highest achieving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students from the Panhandle will join their peers from around the state Thursday and Friday in Orlando to be honored during the newly revamped Sunshine State Scholars program. The two-day awards and recruitment event celebrates the accomplishments of these elite students and provides a unique opportunity for Florida’s universities and colleges to recruit their talents.

The Scholars event started as a simple science and math competition in 1997 and has evolved into a program designed to recognize Florida’s top high school STEM students and recruit them to pursue their post secondary education in Florida – increasing the likelihood that they will join Florida’s future workforce. Each school district selects and names one 11th grade scholar based on established criteria.

The program will begin on Thursday evening with a welcome reception keynoted by Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and Stacy Carlson of the Helios Education Foundation. The event continues on Friday with a breakfast headlined by Dr. Will Holcombe, Chancellor of the Florida College System, and Frank Brogan, Chancellor of the State University System. The recruitment fair will follow where students can talk directly with higher education officials from more than 25 Florida public colleges and universities to explore the opportunities that could await them in a Florida postsecondary institution. The event will conclude with an awards luncheon where scholars will be treated to a speech by Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, after which students can enjoy their free passes to Universal Orlando Resort.

The event will take place at:
Doubletree Hotel at Entrance to Universal Orlando
5780 Major Blvd

Thursday, Feb. 17
Welcome Reception
6:00 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 18
8:00 a.m
Recruitment Fair
9:00 a.m.
Awards Luncheon
12:00 p.m.

The Sunshine State Scholars program is a collaborative effort between the Florida Education Foundation, the Division of Florida Colleges, the State University System and the Florida Department of Education. Event sponsors of this year’s program include the Helios Education Foundation, Universal Orlando Resort, Gulf Power, Florida Trend Magazine, and the Florida Lottery.

A list of the Sunshine State Scholars from Florida’s Panhandle is below.

Panhandle of Florida
District Student School
Bay Jensen Brahier Bay High
Calhoun Caitlyn Stewart Blountstown High
Escambia Sami Alsheikh Pensacola High
Florida State University Nicole Tuovila Florida State University School
Franklin Jessica Dempsey Franklin County High
Gadsden Jeffrey Jackson II East Gadsden High
Gulf Taylor Jay Husband Wewahitchka High
Holmes Marissa English Holmes County High
Jackson Annemarie Nichols Graceville High
Jefferson Alexus Chambers Jefferson County High
Leon Breshawn Best Lincoln High
Liberty Molly Holmes Liberty County High
Madison Lindsey Pinkard Madison County High
Okaloosa Katherine Stone Fort Walton Beach High
Santa Rosa Colton Westover Milton High
Taylor Alexander Eli Grambling Taylor County High
Wakulla Kristie Hodges Wakulla High
Walton Alex Brack Walton High
Washington Michael Pritchard Chipley High