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Press Release

Friday, May 31, 2013

DOE Press Office

Deltona High School student Emmanuel Ramirez (center) with Commissioner Dr. Tony Bennett

Deltona High School Student Wins Florida Digital Art Contest

~ Commissioner Bennett, Superintendent Smith tour digital art computer lab ~

Tallahassee, Fla., May 31, 2013 - Inspired by his love for video game design, Emmanuel Ramirez was chosen from hundreds of Florida K-12 students to win the Florida Department of Education's digital art contest.

Hundreds of students submitted designs to the department's Florida: An ICON of Student Achievement art contest and many teachers incorporated the contest into their classroom projects. Ramirez's design was chosen among eight finalists and posted on the department's Facebook page. Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett traveled to Deltona High School today to congratulate Emmanuel, his parents and his digital design instructor, John Scott.

"Emmanuel's experience is a great example of how Florida's schools are preparing students for academic success by supporting their career aspirations," said Commissioner Bennett. "We can all be proud of students who put forth the kind of effort Emmanuel displayed in his artwork."

After the award presentation, Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Margaret Smith and Principal Susan Freeman gave Commissioner Bennett a tour of the digital design computer lab where Emmanuel and many of his classmates completed their designs.

"We are proud of students like Emmanuel who have achieved success using real-world skills learned through Career and Technology Education," said Superintendent Smith. "Pairing academics with a career focus prepares our students to move beyond high school and into a career or postsecondary education."

Of the eight contest finalists, Ramirez was the fan favorite with 562 "likes" out of more than 1,500 cast. Commissioner Bennett shared with the Ramirez family that representatives from four higher education institutions - Daytona State College, Seminole State College of Florida, University of Florida and the University of Central Florida - have agreed to give the eleventh grader and his parents a tour of their design programs.

"I am so happy that his high school was able to push Emmanuel to focus on his passion and to do something he loves," said Ramirez's step-father McCaulay Jacobs. "Video games are his passion. If school is out and he has done his homework, he is learning about video games."

All of the students in Mr. Scott's class who submitted images to the art contest were rewarded with a pizza party. Emmanuel's winning design is now the social media icon for the department's Facebook page.

Ramirez has already earned an industry certification in Adobe Photoshop through the high school's course and plans to pursue a career in video game design.

Attached is a picture of Deltona High School student Emmanuel Ramirez (center) with Commissioner Tony Bennett (far left), digital design instructor, John Scott, Principal Susan Freeman and Superintendent of Volusia County Schools Dr. Margaret Smith.