August 15, 2023
Brittany Dover
(850) 556-9799

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Education and Volunteer Florida encourage students to participate in Hispanic Heritage Month student contests with the theme “Celebrating Florida’s Hispanic Heroes and their Contributions to Freedom.” Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized and celebrated in the United States from September 15 to October 15.“I am proud to honor the contributions and influence the Hispanic cultures have on the United States,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Josie Tamayo. “As a Cuban-American, Hispanic Heritage Month is a way to not only celebrate but to educate our future generations on the value of community and serving others.” “Florida’s Hispanic Heritage Month contests provide students with the opportunity to learn about the many Hispanic Floridians who fought for freedom,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “I am proud of my Cuban-American heritage and am grateful for the contributions these heroes made.  I look forward to seeing students’ inspirational and imaginative art and essay submissions.”All Florida students are invited to participate in academic and creative contests based on this year’s theme. Students in grades K-3 are invited to participate in an art contest, while students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate in an essay contest. Additionally, students, parents, teachers, and principals are invited to nominate full-time educators of all student grades for the Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award.About the Student Art Contest Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hispanic Heritage Month Art Contest is open to all Kindergarten through third-grade students in Florida. Each student will submit original, two-dimensional artwork based on this year’s theme. Four statewide winners will be selected, and each winner will receive a $100 gift card for school supplies and a 1-year pass to Florida State Parks. About the Student Essay ContestGovernor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest is open to all students attending any Florida school in grades 4-12. Six winners will be selected: two elementary school students (grades 4-5), two middle school students (grades 6-8), and two high school students (grades 9-12). Each winner will receive a 2-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a $100 gift card for school supplies.Contestants must be Florida residents, attend school in Florida in grades 4-12 (including public, charter, private, home or virtual) and able to provide a Social Security Number. Each student may enter only one essay, written in English, no longer than 500 words.There are many examples throughout our state’s history of Hispanic-Americans and their contributions to freedom. Using your own words, write about a Hispanic-American who has had an impactful effect whose story should be shared. The subject of the essay should be a Floridian. Some examples are:

  • Lieutenant Governor Jeanette NuñezFlorida’s First Hispanic Female Lt. Governor
  • Adrianna SwearingenFlorida’s 2024 Teacher of the Year
  • Esteban BovoCuban Exile and Bay of Pigs Veteran
  • Meredith SassoFlorida Supreme Court Justice

About the Excellence in Education Award Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award Contest is open to all full-time educators in an elementary, middle, or high school in Florida. Four winners will be selected, and nominations may be submitted by a principal, teacher, parent/guardian, or student. Excellence in Education award winners will receive $2,500 from Volunteer Florida.Contest Entries and Nominating Forms and Guidelines Student contest forms and educator nomination forms must be mailed to Volunteer Florida or submitted online at Florida Hispanic Heritage Month Committee1545 Raymond Diehl Road, Suite 250Tallahassee, Florida 32308All entries must be received by 5 p.m. (ET) on Monday, September 18, 2023.  For more information about the contests, please visit