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Students recognized for award-winning designs in Kids Tag Art program

By Staff | Mar 29, 2024

The Teachers Tag Art Award went to art teacher Danielle Hopkins of Hancock Creek Elementary School. PHOTO PROVIDED

The Lee County Tax Collector and the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools honored 84 School District of Lee County 5th graders with Awards of Distinction for their designs in the Kids Tag Art program. The top two student designers from each participating elementary school were recognized at an awards ceremony at Cypress Lake High School.

Noelle Branning, Lee County Tax Collector, and Marshall Bower, president and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools hosted the event.

Kids Tag Art is a fundraising program that inspires fifth grade students to design their own license plates fashioned after Florida’s 100 specialty plates. Students learn how these plates support deserving causes, like environmental protection, health initiatives and public education.

In addition to the Awards of Distinction, four students earned accolades for their themed designs:

The Suncoast Sunny Futures Award is presented by Suncoast Credit Union to the student whose creative expression best illustrates the idea of what a school of the future will look like. This award is presented to Oraia Pitts from Diplomat Elementary.

The Tax Collector’s Choice Award is personally selected by the tax collector and presented to an Award of Distinction winner who portrays the character of the Kids Tag Art Initiative. This year’s winner is Camila Munoz from Skyline Elementary.

The Educational Excellence Award given by the School District of Lee County honors a student whose design best illustrates the power of education. The winner of this award is Renee Scalise from Bayshore Elementary.

The Design Excellence Award given by the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools is presented to a student whose design best represents giving back to the community. The winner is Kristen Roe from Edison Park Elementary.

In addition, the Teacher’s Tag Art Award was presented to Art Teacher Danielle Hopkins from Hancock Creek Elementary School.

“We are thrilled to honor these creative and talented students, while supporting the arts programs in our schools,” said Noelle Branning, Lee County Tax Collector. “Our teachers spend hundreds of their own dollars to give their students the best art experience possible. We are happy to be able to remove some of that financial burden through this program.”

This year each participating art teacher received $700. Since 2016, the program has raised nearly $263,000 for elementary art teachers to support their classrooms.

“We cannot say enough great things about this program,” said Marshall Bower, President and CEO of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. “We engage with our outstanding partners at the Tax Collector’s office, students engage in the arts, teachers receive much needed art funding, and our business partners play a role in enhancing art education! A well-rounded education must include the arts because art plays an important role in commerce and enriching our lives.”

The Philanthropist Sponsor for Kids Tag Art is Suncoast Credit Union. Other sponsors include The Community Foundation, First Horizon, Edison Bank/Bank of the Islands, Grant Street Group, Lee County Electric Co-Op (LCEC), JP Morgan and Dprint.