On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, Cox Communications hosted the annual Cox Inspirational Student Hero Awards in Okaloosa County, recognizing 37 students who have overcome extreme hardships in their lives. The Heroes were recognized at a ceremony at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville.
“Hearing the struggles these students have endured reminds us how difficult life can be, but our response to those adversities is what really matters,” said Cox Gulf Coast Market vice president David Deliman. “It’s our honor to recognize these students for everything they’ve accomplished in their young lives. They’re true heroes and deserve their time in the spotlight.”
The students were chosen by a committee of leaders at their school, due to their resilience in the face of adversity. Whether they have overcome a loss of a family member, medical issue, difficult family situation or other hardship, they did so with a positive attitude and continued to encourage and inspire others around them.
- “We appreciate Cox Communications for hosting this event each year,” stated Okaloosa Superintendent Marcus Chambers. “It is always touching to hear the students’ stories and a reminder of why we as educators do what we do.”
During the event, Cox presented the students with a personalized engraved medallion and certificates of honor. The students were also presented with certificates of achievement from Congressman Matt Gaetz, State Senators Doug Broxson and Jay Trumbull and State Representatives Michelle Salzman, Joel Rudman and Patt Maney.
- They also received congratulatory letters from United States Senator Rick Scott, United States Senator Marco Rubio, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners also honored the students with a proclamation naming May 2023 as Cox Inspirational Student Hero Month in Okaloosa County.
Okaloosa County’s Cox Inspirational Student Heroes for 2023 are:
- Antioch Elementary School – Damaree Wilkins
- Baker School – Brayshawn Baker
- Bluewater Elementary School – Donovan Roland
- Bob Sikes Elementary School – Carson Newman
- Bruner Middle School – Ryan Linder
- Choctawhatchee High School – Alyssa Crawford
- Crestview High School – Izzy Hicks
- Davidson Middle School – Addison Maneen
- Destin Elementary School – River Lee Miller
- Destin Middle School – Mariia Iasinska
- Edge Elementary School – Zakaria Williamson
- Edwins Elementary School – Adrien Asque
- Eglin Elementary School – Emmy Liufau
- Elliott Point Elementary School – Anna McNamara
- Florosa Elementary School – Ariana Najera
- Fort Walton Beach High School – Dominik Quesnel
- Kenwood Elementary School – Genevieve Banks
- Laurel Hill School – Jalion Smiley
- Lewis School – Nathan White
- Longwood Elementary School – Enrique Lopez
- Meigs Middle School – Susie Garcia
- Niceville High School – Erik Sirmans
- Northwest Florida Ballet Academie – Zoey Kocher
- Northwood Elementary School – Miguel Rodriguez
- Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Diego Rodriguez-Mundo
- Plew Elementary School – Aiden Tupper
- Pryor Middle School – Tinika Jackson
- Richburg School – Alli Drake
- Riverside Elementary School – Haley Markheim
- Ruckel Middle School – Hailey Grisamore
- Shalimar Elementary School – Charlotte Schindler
- Shoal River Middle School – Marie Fensler
- Shoal River Middle School – Azana Jackson
- Silver Sands School – Destiny Gay
- Southside Primary School – Cayden Stevick
- Walker Elementary School – Ayden Foley
- Wright Elementary School – Esther Rodriguez
The Cox Inspirational Student Hero Awards program began 30 years ago in New Orleans, Louisiana. The program has spread to other Cox markets in the Southeast Region. To date, Cox has recognized nearly 4,700 students from Lafayette, Louisiana, to Gainesville, Florida.
I noticed that no child was recognized from Mary Esther Elementary. What’s up with that?