TALLAHASSEE – Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott will announce the 2013 Hispanic Heritage Month student and teacher contests winners during the Hispanic Heritage reception at the Governor’s mansion tonight. The reception will celebrate the contributions Hispanic community leaders, educators and students continue to make on our state and nation.

Governor Scott and First Lady Ann Scott will honor three outstanding Hispanic educators with the Excellence in Education Award. These individuals were nominated by students and peers, and each will receive $1,500 provided by Volunteer Florida at the Governor’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Governor Scott said, “As the month long celebrations come to an end, I am excited to join community leaders, educators, and students across our great state to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. I would like to thank everyone across Florida who helped make Hispanic Heritage Month such a success. Congratulations to the student and teacher winners of this contest. Great Hispanic leaders have shaped Florida’s history and helped make our state the best place to live and raise a family.”

First Lady Ann Scott said, “In September, the Governor and I were happy to announce the 2013 Hispanic Heritage Month student and teacher contests. While visiting schools this month, I enjoyed seeing the unique and wonderful artwork by students in honor of this month-long celebration. I congratulate all of Florida’s students who participated in the Hispanic Heritage Month contests for taking the time to learn more about some of the people who make Florida a great place to live. It was also an honor to have Mr. Nestor Martinez as our featured artist and share his creativity and talent with Floridians during this time of celebration.”

Featured artist Nestor Martinez grew up in Bogota, Colombia. He began working full time as a Fine Arts painter in Tampa, Florida in 2005. He joined the Coalition of Hispanic Artists in 2009. His artwork has been on exhibit throughout Florida and nationally.

Excellence in Education award winners are:
Yanerys Viter – Elbridge Gale Elementary School in Wellington (Science, Social Studies and Spanish educator – Grades 2-3)
Lucie Rodriguez – Manatee Middle School in Naples (Developmental Reading/LA educator – Grades 6-8)
Sonia M. Rivera- Sebring High School in Sebring (Spanish educator – Grades 9-12)

Three student essay-contest winners – one elementary, one middle-school, and one high school student – will also be honored by the Governor and First Lady. Winners will receive a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Student essay contest winners are:
Kevin Blanco – Devon Aire K-8 Center in Miami (Elementary School)
Madison Hopkins – Marco Island Charter Middle School (Middle School)
Kevin Ramirez – James A. Rickards High School in Tallahassee (High School)

Two art-contest winners will also be recognized. These winners will receive $250, which will be awarded at the Governor’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Student art contest winners are:
Liz-Annabelle Guillaume – St. Lawrence School in Miami (K-1 level)
Kayla Nicole Gonzalez – Coral Reef Elementary in Miami (2nd-3rd Grade level)

The Hispanic Heritage Month reception is supported by the Volunteer Florida Foundation and Florida Prepaid College Foundation. Additional sponsors include AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Prudential.

About Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States has been celebrated since 1988, when President Ronald Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation extending Hispanic Heritage Week into a month-long observation. This annual month-long celebration that begins on September 15 recognizes the contributions, traditions and culture of Hispanics and Latino Americans to the United States of America. Several Latin American countries celebrate the anniversaries of their independence during Hispanic Heritage Month. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate their Independence on September 15. Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16, and Chile on September 18. This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration bears special significance for Florida as a part of Viva Florida 500, a statewide initiative, commemorating the arrival of Juan Ponce de León to the land he named La Florida in 1513.