Florida Virtual School Student Elyanah G. Wins Black History Month Essay Contest

Elyanah G.’s father couldn’t contain his excitement when he called to tell her that she won the Florida Department of Education and Volunteer Florida’s 2023 Black History Month Student Essay contest. As a Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Full Time freshman, it was Elyanah’s first time submitting her work as part of a contest.

“Imagine you are thrown into the pit of the Great Depression. The struggle to fill your children’s hollow stomachs and the threat of next month’s rent looms over your head. All the while, maintaining your severely underpaid job and bearing the constant discrimination suffocating your every move. This was life for Augusta Savage, an aspiring artist born in an unforgiving time.”

~ Elyanah G., FLVS Full Time student

With these words and her art background, Elyanah began her essay for this year’s theme of “Celebrating the Achievements of African American Floridians,” with one inspiring female sculptor in mind: Augusta Savage.

A pioneering artist

Weaving the metaphor of clay throughout her essay, Elyanah highlighted Augusta Savage for her many roles, including an artist, African American, woman, and single mother during The Great Depression, a time filled with hardships and discrimination. 

Augusta’s perseverance paid off as she created the “Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts”, where she focused on nurturing African American artists. She was later recognized as the first African American selected for the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors.

Dedicated teachers

Elyanah was drawn to Augusta due to her own interest in art. She loves using charcoal and paints to fill her multiple sketchbooks. As an FLVS student, Elyanah loves the flexibility of online learning because it gives her more time to focus on her art. 

She also appreciates the personalized support she receives daily from her FLVS teachers. 

In fact, it was Elyanah’s teachers – her Psychology teacher, Jessica Darby, and her English teacher, Shakara Callum, who provided feedback and challenged her to rework her essay which led to her win.  She also credits her elementary English teacher Fiona Evans who provided her with constant encouragement throughout the years. 

Elyanah will receive a two-year Florida College Plan scholarship from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a $100 gift card for school supplies. She looks forward to pursuing medical studies in college and hopes to become a pediatrician someday. 

Learn more about  FLVS Full Time to find the flexibility to pursue your passions! Enrollment for the 2023-24 school year will open in June. Stay tuned to our blog and social channels for updates.

Katie HodginsKatie Hodgins brings her wealth of experience and passion to the FLVS team, assuming the role of Content and Public Relations Specialist. A military veteran and lifelong learner, Katie enjoys communicating unique and innovative stories about people, places, and opportunities to inspire and engage the next generation. Having traveled throughout the world, she is excited to plant roots here in Florida and with Florida Virtual School.

5 comments on “Florida Virtual School Student Elyanah G. Wins Black History Month Essay Contest

    1. Elizabeth JonesElizabeth Jones

      Yes, the Florida Department of Education hosts multiple student art and essay contests throughout the year, including Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Native American Heritage Month.


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