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Orange Grove Elementary student wins the Florida Department of Education Hispanic Heritage Month essay contest

Nov. 18, 2021

Stella Jurkovic with Gov. Ron DeSantis

Fourth-grader Stella Jurkovic is the elementary-level winner for her essay about Myriam Irizarry, Pinellas County’s first female Hispanic judge. Stella’s accomplishment earned her a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis honored this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month student and educator contest winners in a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion. 

“I was amazed by the entries we received this year from students across our state who submitted moving stories of community, family and leadership from Hispanic-Americans in Florida,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. 

Irizarry was the first Hispanic female to serve as a judge in Pinellas County. She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York and New Jersey. For more than 25 years, she worked for the Pinellas Clerk of the Circuit Court. She is a former president of the Clearwater Bar Association and the Hispanic Outreach Center. Because of her pro bono legal counsel to the Spanish-speaking community, the Florida Supreme Court honored her with the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. 

Read Stella’s winning essay.

See the FDOE media release

Stella Jurkovic at the Governor's mansionHispanic Heritage Contest Winners