Nine Duval County students were named winners Friday of the inaugural Mayor Brown Essay Contest.
The essay contest theme -- “With A College Degree I can…” -- prompted 827 entries from elementary, middle and high school students throughout Duval County.
First place winners received iPads; second place winners received Nexus Tablets and third place winners received a $200 Visa gift card.
READ: Contest-winning essays
"It was really moving," Brown said. "One person talked about being a doctor because her grandfather had stage-four cancer and she wanted to be able to figure out how to cure cancer. You had one kid who lived in a poor neighborhood. How could someone in a 'low-grade neighborhood' go to college?"
Prizes were purchased through the Mayor’s Education Trust Fund. The 2012 award recipients are:
- Lauren Thomas, 1st Place, Fort Caroline Elementary, 5th grade, teacher: Mrs. Shore
- Akoi Brown, 2nd Place, Rufus Payne Elementary, 3rd grade, teacher: Ms. Alexander
- Emily Gnida, 3rd Place, John N.C. Stockton Elementary, 4th grade, teacher: Ms. Duva
Brittany Sanders, 1st Place, James Weldon Johnson, 8th grade, teacher: Ms. Williams
Sharif D. Hall, 2nd Place, Highlands Middle, 8th grade, teacher: Ms. A. Williams
Bailey Williams, 3rd Place, Alfred I. DuPont Middle, 7th grade, teacher: Mr. Couch
- Tuongvan Le, 1st Place, Stanton College Preparatory, 12th grade, teacher: Mr. Mackey
- Mark Ronan, 2nd Place, River City Science Academy, 11th grade, teacher: Mr. Cannon
- Anthony B. Philpot, 3rd Place, Englewood High, 12th grade, teacher: Mrs. Odell