9 Duval students win mayor's essay contest

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - 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


Senior High

  • 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