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Each year in observance of Black History Month, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis host a special opportunity for Florida’s K-12 students to participate in an academic and creative essay contest. Additionally, students, parents, teachers and school leaders are invited to nominate educators for the Excellence in Education Award. More information will be available from your child’s school.

 Art Contest K-3

(Grades K–3)
Governor Ron DeSantis' and First Lady Casey DeSantis' Black History Month Art Contest is open to all K-3 students in the state of Florida.

Awards: Winners will receive a prize at the Governor's Black History Month celebration to be held in Tallahassee. Reasonable travel and lodging expenses will be paid for the winners and one immediate family member.

Essay Contest

(Grades 4–5, 6–8, 9–12)
Governor Ron DeSantis’ and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Black History Month Essay Contest is open to all students attending any Florida school in grades 4-12. Three winners will be selected: one elementary school student (grades 4-5), one middle school student (grades 6-8), and one high school student (grades 9-12).

Awards: Winners will receive a 4-Year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by Florida Prepaid College Foundation. Winners will receive awards at the Governor's Black History Month celebration to be held in Tallahassee. Reasonable travel and lodging expenses will be paid for the winners and one immediate family member.

Tree of Gratitude Art Show

February 2, 2021

Tree of Gratitude Art Show

Emerald Coast Middle School 6th-8th grade Art students created these paintings to show their appreciation for the sacrifices made by our local healthcare heroes. Students took inspiration from 20th century Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt’s, Tree of Life. Trees have historically symbolized strength, wisdom and protection, which have always been qualities healthcare workers have displayed, but especially during the current Covid pandemic. Students infused their artworks with images of gratitude, loss, health, frustration, faith and love. We hope these works of art help communicate our many thanks for all the efforts healthcare heroes tirelessly give to our community.


ECMS Principal: Todd Drake, Asst. Principal:

Nancy Parker, Art Teacher: Jennifer Rhea

Kindergarten Registration  will be held Monday-Friday, March 1st – March 12th  from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at all Walton County elementary schools for any child who will be five (5) on or before September 1, 2021. 

Click the links below.  

WMS Beta Club

February 2, 2021

Mrs. Lynne Martin Bestows Tips for Public Speaking and Life to the WMS Beta Club


At Walton Middle School's January Beta Club meeting, WSCD literacy coach Mrs. Lynne Martin shared not only her love of speaking but also her wisdom with students.  Because strong communication skills are essential for effective leadership, Mrs. Martin shared how props can enhance a message.  To illustrate, Mrs. Martin delivered a moving speech using props centered around the theme that happiness is overrated, as true joy really comes from within.  She began by asking Beta members what brings them happiness, then explained how happiness relies on external forces, while joy originates internally.  She then used a rubber band as she narrated a childhood story, suggesting that just because something hurts or is difficult doesn't mean you can't muster the strength to face it.  Next, she used a mirror as she shared a story about her own middle school years at WMS.  During that time, she found herself involved in some typical middle school drama, and her sweet mother reminded her that "pretty is as pretty does."  She also brought out a bucket, reminding students the importance of self-care, as one can't pour from an empty bucket.  Finally, she shared a picture frame, telling a recent story about identifying personal bias and growing from it.  Through each symbol and story, Mrs. Martin conveyed the message that joy can be found in any moment or stage of life--even the hard ones.  After her visit, WMS Beta Club members walked away with not only public speaking tips but also sage advice.

An honorable, honored and humble visit to Walton High School for Superintendent Hughes as he was able to have an amazing conversation with WHS’s 1st Taylor Haugen Winner Tinsley Abbot.  Tinsley also presented Superintendent Hughes a personal invitation to the Annual FCA Breakfast that she is organizing to make sure this wonderful event occurs for students in Northwest Florida.  Tinsley is an outstanding representation of what the Taylor Haugen Foundation desires to highlight and an astounding leader who walks the halls of Walton High School, Home of the Braves!  We are so proud of Tinsley and this special designation.  While at WHS Superintendent Hughes also stopped in and visited students eating lunch and WCSD’s only AFJROTC Program that serves in hundreds of events around Walton County.  Being A Brave is a way of Life!  #EPIC3.

Local Author Visits MSE

January 28, 2021

LaPorte's class had a surprise visitor! Their favorite author, McCaid Paul, stopped in to read the first chapter of his fourth book, Hidden Places, to the class. They have already read his first 3 books and he was able to answer questions about the series and the writing process. Before he left, McCaid autographed a book for every student. This was a day these students will not forget as each of them was inspired to start writing!

Impressions in Clay

January 28, 2021

The Freeport Middle School Art Department has created another beautiful batch of "Impressions in Clay" tablets and wall hangings.  Students worked with clay and plants to make impressions in the clay.  They then learned how to make a tinted glaze to complete the look.  Way to go students!

High Expectations and Academic Language were on full display at Maude Saunders Elementary this morning.  After drop-off Superintendent Hughes perused through Kindergarten to hear, see, and watch students learn the difference between Whole Numbers that are made up of parts that give the sum of the numbers in a number bond!  The students connected trains, cats, and dogs to calculate the sum with fun content.  Kindergarten EPIC is equally amazing!

Freeport Wildcats are excited to announce our Teacher of the Year, Kristi Gantenbein and Educational Support Porfessional of the Year, Joanie Porter.

Kristi Gantenbein, kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, is in her 6th year teaching and her third year at FES.  Prior to FES, Mrs. Gantenbein taught first and second grade, and received  the "Rising Star" award in her first year. Mrs. G, as she is lovingly known throughout FES, says, " I always knew I would be a teacher; it's all I've ever wanted to do. I feel very blessed to have felt that calling and passion from such a young age. One of my favorite things about teaching is building relationships with my students. I love getting to celebrate my student's success with them and watch their confidence grow." When not at school, Mrs. Gantenbein enjoys spending time with her family, reading and taking bike rides. We, at FES, are very blessed to have Mrs. Kristi Gantenbein in our Wildcat family.