Belleview, Florida — When Valeria Alfonzo Molina wrote her essay about James Weldon Johnson earlier this year, she figured it would measure up with others submitted by high school students across Florida.
The Belleview High School senior said she only dreamed of winning the annual Black History Month essay contest sponsored in part by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and promoted by Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis.
Alfonzo Molina’s dream came true earlier this week when Governor Ron DeSantis’s office issued a press release with her name as the winning high school writer. Her prize? A prepaid four-year college scholarship through the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. The winning names were announced by Mrs. DeSantis.
In her essay, Alfonzo Molina wrote about Johnson, a Florida-born educator, poet, novelist, journalist, anthologist, diplomat, lyricist, lawyer and civil rights activist.
Black History Month is celebrated each year in Florida during February, and this year’s contest theme was “Community Champions – Celebrating the Contributions of African Americans in Florida’s Communities,” sponsored by the Florida Lottery and other partners.
“Our state’s rich and vibrant history continues to be shaped by the leadership and contributions of Florida’s African American community,” said First Lady DeSantis. “The Governor and I are honored to celebrate this year’s Black History Month student and teacher award winners and their achievements. It is our hope that today’s award recipients continue to share their gifts and serve as inspirations across our great State of Florida.”
Just seven years ago, Belleview High produced another winner in the very same contest. Then-student Javan Latson captured top honors for all high school writers and also won a four-year, pre-paid college scholarship.