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Art Contest Increases Awareness about Native American and Alaskan Heritage

December 14, 2018

During the month of December and January, Nora LaPierre, a 4th grader at Mabry Elementary can see her artwork hanging in Hillsborough County Public Libraries. She won the elementary division of the Title VI Native American and Alaskan heritage art contest that was held throughout the month of November. Student artwork from all over the county was also displayed in downtown Tampa at the school district’s administrative center (ROSSAC).

Title VI is part of federal law that provides support for Native American and Alaskan Native Students, to ensure students succeed academically and socially. The Title VI program, led by School Social Work Services, also provides professional development activities for school personnel.

Our district’s Title VI Native American and Alaskan Native education initiative recognized the elementary and high school students who participated in the Native American Heritage month contest. The goal of the art contest was to create awareness and sensitivity around the culture. For the past two years in our district, the Native American and Alaskan Native students have had a 100% graduation rate.

“We were happy to come out and acknowledge not only our winner Nora, but her teacher as well, for supporting this culture and increasing equity—and once and for all recognizing the school for their participation,” said Lourdes Hernandez-Gonzalez, coordinator with School Social Work Services.

While doing her artwork, Nora said her teacher, Nanette Dailey, showed her and her classmates a variety of designs and patterns that the Indians used to do and the different meanings.

 “My artwork included three Native Americans with the patterns of earth, water and sky. It reminds me of my mom, me and sister Remy, because we are all very close— just like the sky, sun and water,” said Nora.

Brian Buttafuoco, Assistant Curator of Education at the Tampa History Center was happy to join in on celebrating Nora and her teacher at Mabry. He presented Nora with four free passes to visit the Tampa History Center. The Center has been a long time partner with the Title VI office, allowing Native American displays of artifacts to be set up during public events, with parents from the Parent Advisory Committee sharing detailed stories to tell of each item on display.

“I told these children that culture and history is very much intertwined, the History Center recognizes that, and art is a great way to express your way of life,” said Buttafuoco.

In a classroom full of excited elementary students at Mabry Elementary, Shannon Durant, the Title VI PAC Chairperson, presented Nora and her art teacher, Ms. Dailey, with a certificate to thank them for participating in the contest.

During the month of December artwork from this contest will be displayed at SouthShore Regional Library. A January library location is to be determined.

Thank you to all of the schools that participated in the art contest!

1st Place Winners: 

Bridget Kimball, 12th grader at Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School

(Art teacher, Ms. Madeilynann Mitchell) 

Nora LaPierre, 4th grader at Mabry Elementary School

(Art teacher, Ms. Nanette Dailey) 

CLICK HERE to learn more about the implementation of Title VI services within Hillsborough County Public Schools, or call School Social Work Services at (813) 273-7090.

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