TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lieutenant Governor Carolos Lopez-Cantera will announce the 2014 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 said, “I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month reception and contests. Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera and I are proud to have the opportunity to honor Florida’s great Hispanic leaders while helping Florida students celebrate Hispanic heritage.”

Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera said, “As Florida’s first Hispanic lieutenant governor, it is a privilege to celebrate this month of recognizing students and teachers for their hard work and dedication. The winners of tonight’s Hispanic Heritage Month contests proudly represent the diversity of our state. Contributions like this one demonstrate why Florida is a special place to live, work and play.”

During the reception, Lieutenant Governor Lopez-Cantera will highlight this year’s featured artist, Maria Elena Elvira “Manena.”

Manena began her studies at the Colegio Mayor of Antioquia as an Architectural and Engineering drafter in 1982. In 2002 she moved to Bogota, and eventually to Miami. In Florida, Manena, with the support of her husband, Eric Elvira, is making important works of art and has studied art at Miami-Dade College. Her artwork has been on exhibit at numerous national and international exhibitions from the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris to New York’s ArtExpo, from Houston to Miami, from Colombia to Belgium.

At the reception, Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera 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.

Excellence in Educationaward winners are:
Maria Gonzalez – Dunnellon Elementary School in Dunnellon (Science, Math, Social Studies, Writing, ELA educator – Grades 1, 2, and 4)
Liska Garcia – Imagine School at Land O’ Lakes in Land O’ Lakes (Spanish educator – Grades 6-8)
Grisell Santiago – P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Gainesville (Spanish educator – Grades 9-12)

The Lieutenant Governor will also honor three student essay-contest winners – one chosen from grades 4-5, one chosen from grades 6-8, and one chosen from grades 9-12. The winners will receive a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Student essay contest winners are:
Daniel Fernandez – Devon Aire K-8 Center in Miami (Grades 4-5)
N’Jhari Jackson – The Paideia School of Tampa Bay in Tampa (Grades 6-8)
Will Radka – Winter Springs High School in Winter Springs (Grades 9-12)

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

Student art contest winners are:
Amanda Augsten – Coral Reef Elementary in Palmetto Bay (Grades K-1)
Meera Nair – Grace Christian School in Riverview (Grades 2-3)

The Hispanic Heritage Month reception is supported by the Volunteer Florida Foundation, Florida Prepaid College Foundation, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Prudential, Walmart, Comcast NBCUniversal, Publix, Century Link and the Florida Lottery.

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.

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