Historic City News learned that at a reception honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Florida’s African-American leaders yesterday, Governor Charlie Crist announced Florida’s Black History Month theme as well as an art contest for students in kindergarten through third grade.
In addition, he will invite Florida students in fourth through 12th grades to participate in the essay contest and will encourage students, parents, teachers and principals to nominate full-time African-American educators in elementary, middle or high schools for the Black History Month Excellence in Education Award.
“As our nation prepares for the historic occasion of inaugurating our first African-American President, it is appropriate that we also celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. who paved the way for such a milestone,” Governor Crist said. “Florida is proud to carry this legacy into the future by embracing the diversity of our people that makes the Sunshine State unique.”
During the reception, James E. Tokley Sr. will recite his original poems “Ode to a Nobody” and “Martin-Millennium.” Tokley is the City of Tampa’s first official poet laureate and has also been cited as the poet laureate of the National Urban League by former National Urban League President John E. Jacob. The Florida A&M University Gospel Choir will perform, and Asantewaa Yomoah of Tallahassee, a fifth-grade Chaires Elementary student, will deliver a speech prepared for the occasion.
About the Art Contest
The new Black History Month art contest is open to all Florida students in grades K-3. One winner will be selected from the grades K-1 entries, and one from the grades 2-3 entries. Winners will be notified by February 12, 2009, and will receive a $250 check.
Entrants may submit only one original, two-dimensional art piece 8½ by 11 inches.
Artwork can not be drawn or taken from any other existing work (photograph, advertisement, etc.) that is not created by the student.
Artwork can be created by using any two-dimensional medium including:
Drawing (pencil, crayon, graphite, etc.)
Painting (pastel, watercolor, spray paint, oils, etc.)
Entries must be accompanied by both an entry form and parental waiver form, which can be found at www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.
Entries must be mailed to the Executive Office of the Governor, Attention: Black History Month Art Contest, 400 S. Monroe St., Suite LL-10, Tallahassee, Florida 32399.
Entries must be postmarked by February 6, 2009.
About the Essay Contest
Open to all Florida students in fourth through 12th grades, the essay contest asks students to answer the question:
“The recent election of our nation’s first black president demonstrates how far racial equality has advanced since the Emancipation Proclamation was penned by Abraham Lincoln 146 years ago. In his acceptance speech, our new president-elect encouraged all citizens to work together for our nation’s continued growth and prosperity. As a citizen of Florida, one of the nation’s most diverse and culturally rich states, what will you do to contribute to a brighter future for Florida and all its citizens?”
One winner will be selected from each of the three grade-level categories, elementary (grades 4-5), middle (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). Winners will receive a full four-year tuition scholarship to a Florida public college or university of their choice, provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.
Each student may enter only one essay, no longer than 500 words and typed or handwritten in print, rather than cursive writing.
Essays must include the student’s name, home address, telephone number, school the student attends, grade level and essay title.
Entries must be accompanied by a parental waiver form which can be found at www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.
Entries must be mailed to the Executive Office of the Governor, Attention: Black History Month Essay Contest, 400 S. Monroe Street, Suite LL-10, Tallahassee, Florida 32399.
Entries must be postmarked by February 6, 2009.
About the Excellence in Education Award
Governor Crist’s annual Black History Month Excellence in Education Award Contest is open to all African-American, full-time educators in an elementary, middle or high school in Florida. Three winners will be selected: one elementary (K-5) teacher, one middle school (6-8) teacher and one high school (9-12) teacher. Winners will receive a check for $1,500.
Nomination forms must be mailed to Executive Office of the Governor: Excellence in Education Award Committee, 400 S. Monroe Street, Suite LL-10, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, postmarked by February 6, 2009. Forms can be found at www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.
Nominations may be submitted by a principal, teacher, parent or student.
About Black History Month
Black History Month celebrates Florida’s African-Americans who have made significant contributions to the development of our state. Beginning with the establishment of St. Augustine, the earliest European settlement in Florida, African-Americans have frequently had to overcome great adversity, yet have held key roles in Florida’s cultural, economic and academic growth.
Contest winners and award-winning teachers will be notified by February 12, 2009. Awards will be presented at the Governor’s annual Black History Month celebration in Tallahassee in February.
For additional information about Florida’s black history, contests and other related events, please visit www.FloridaBlackHistory.com