JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After weeks of growing anticipation, the Jacksonville Image Awards are finally upon us. This inaugural awards show, sponsored by the Cochran Firm, celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of individuals whose efforts have had a positive impact on our community.
With the event coming up on Saturday, now’s a good time to get familiar with the categories up for grabs. They include the ‘Be the Change’ award, the Pinnacle award, the ‘One to Watch’ award, the Music Excellence award, the Innovator award, the Education Excellence award, and the Trailblazer award.
Below is a more detailed description of each of the awards:
- The ‘Be The Change’ Award recognizes individuals who, having succeeded against immense odds, herald change and prosperity to enhance and enrich the world. They overcome obstacles to show that, through hard work and humility, societal change is possible. Nominees include Donte Palmer, who launched the #SquattingForChange campaign, and MAD DADS Jacksonville President Donald Foy.
- The Pinnacle Award recognizes those who have achieved professional accomplishments throughout an extensive career and are role models for others to attain similar success. Nominees for this honor include Nicole Thomas, president of Baptist Medical Center South, and Cleve Warren, chief investment officer for the Florida State College at Jacksonville and executive director for the FSCJ Foundation.
- The ‘One To Watch’ Award recognizes individuals who are quickly establishing themselves and making an impact in their particular field or industry. These are future trailblazers, or the ones to watch. Nominees include Brandon Stallings, an entrepreneur and founder/CEO of SmartBox, and philanthropist Taylor Richardson, who’s popularly known by the name Astronaut StarBright.
- The Music Excellence Award recognizes individuals for their exceptional achievements in music, having made a tremendous impact with their creative works that have helped shape the local music scene. The star-studded list of nominees includes Moses Evans, band instructor at Kipp Impact Middle School, and recording artist and songwriter Miles Jaye Davis.
- The Innovator Award recognizes individuals who creatively challenge the norm by introducing mainstream culture to avant-garde ideas and making a social impact in their respective industry. The nominees for this honor include Crystal Hutchinson, a major advocate for the LGBTQ community, and Victor Chrispin Jr., director of the Black Male Explorer program at Edward Waters College.
- The Education Excellence Award recognizes outstanding commitment to the academic development and improvement of a system or community in an effort to enhance the lives of future generations. The nominees for this award include Vincent Taylor, a veteran elementary teacher for Duval County Public Schools, and Dr. Cynthia Smith, creator of the first private STEM academy in Northeast Jacksonville.
- The Trailblazer Award recognizes pioneers who inspire others to follow their path to greatness with innovative ideas that challenge the status quo. Among the nominees for this prestigious award include Dr. LaTonya Summers, assistant professor of clinical mental health counseling at Jacksonville University, and Patricia Sams, a community leader who has served on the Black Expo Board and with United Way.
With hundreds of nominations submitted and thousands of votes cast, there is a lot of competition for these inaugural awards. The winners will be announced beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ritz Theatre. To get tickets to view the awards show in person, click here.