TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott announced the 2015 Black History Month contests for students and educators. Art and essay contests are open to students in Kindergarten to 12th grade. Students, parents, teachers and principals have also been invited to nominate full-time, African-American educators in elementary, middle and high schools for the Black History Month Excellence in Education Award.

Governor Scott said, “This February, as we celebrate Black History Month, we are honoring African-American innovators who have helped make Florida a great place to work, live and visit. I hope all Florida students will embrace the opportunity to learn about these influential individuals and the incredible impact they have made on our state. Ann and I are also looking forward to recognizing some of the many great African American educators who are helping prepare our students for future success.”

First Lady Ann Scott said, “I look forward to the Black History Month art and essay contests each year. When I visit schools around the state, I am always impressed by our students’ talent, and I encourage Florida’s teachers and students to seize this opportunity to learn more about the people and ideas that have shaped our state. I am also honored to feature the artwork of George E. Miller whose beautiful paintings advocate for our most precious asset – our children.”

The theme for this year’s essay and art contests is “A Celebration of African-American Innovation and Innovators.” Students are asked to share how African-American innovators have shaped Florida. Information about the contests and Florida’s Black History Month is available on Florida’s Black History Month website, www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.

This year’s Black History Month featured artist is George E. Miller, II. Miller’s artwork advocates for the education and well-being of children. He is a self-taught artist and his work has been commissioned by numerous child advocacy organizations across the country. Miller’s studio is based in Jacksonville, Florida.

About the Student Contests

Art Contest for Grades K-3 – The Black History Month art contest is open to all Florida students in grades K-3, and two winners will be selected.

Essay Contest for Grades 4-12 – The Black History Month essay contest is open to all Florida students in grades 4 through 12. Three winners will be selected: one elementary student (grades 4-5), one middle-school student (grades 6-8), and one high school student (grades 9-12). Winners will receive a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

About the Excellence in Education Award

Governor Scott’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 (grades K-5) teacher, one middle school (grades 6-8) teacher and one high school (grades 9-12) teacher.

All entry forms and guidelines for the contests can be found at www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.

Contest Entries and Nominations

Student contest forms and educator nomination forms must be mailed to:

Volunteer Florida
Attention: Black History Month Committee
3800 Esplanade Way
Suite 180
Tallahassee, FL 32311

All entries must be mailed to Volunteer Florida and received by January 21, 2015.

For additional information about Florida’s Black History, contests and other related events, please visit www.FloridaBlackHistory.com.

The Black History Month awards are supported by the Florida Lottery, Florida Prepaid College Foundation, Volunteer Florida Foundation, Comcast, AT&T, Florida Power and Light, Prudential, Publix, and Brighthouse Networks.