SHALIMAR – About two dozen Okaloosa County elementary students and their families waited to hear their names announced in front of the packed School Board room on April 22.

The recognition came from Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson as he presented the Kids Tag Art Award of Distinction winners, two each from 13 participating schools. Principals of the participating schools also were all smiles when they heard each of their schools would be receiving an additional $800 from Kids Tag Art program sponsors.

The Kids Tag Art program is a partnership with the Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office and the Okaloosa County School District. The program has contributed $64,367 to participating schools since 2013.

As an art project, this program gives students a chance to create their own specialty license plate. As a fundraiser, those created plates can be purchased by parents and the public where the proceeds from school sales stay in that school.

Combining in-school sales and local sponsorships, the Kids Tag Art program earned $17,624 this year.

“This is non-tax generated revenue and comes at a time when money for art curriculum is hard to find,” said Anderson. “In the coming weeks, we will be delivering $800 checks to each participating school. This is possible because of the generous support of our sponsors, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, AFLAC with Leo Tisa and Corporate Benefits Inc.”

Kids Tag Art Award of Distinction winners for 2019 are: Alexandra Wirsing and Olivia Jernigan of Bluewater Elementary; Kallie Sage and Victoria Higginson of Elliott Point; Katie Eubanks and Anna Abernathy of Liza Jackson Preparatory; Emily Gailey and Alayna Ruth of Riverside Elementary; Stella Scoma of Destin Elementary; Kyliegh Cooley and Janelle Johnson of Florosa Elementary; Priscilla Antunez and Khamauri Hardy of Northwood Elementary; Wendy Martinez and Emily LaPoint of Shalimar Elementary; Annabella Duque and Sophia Sikora of Edge Elementary; Emily Mills and Jordyn Friley of Lewis Middle; Caitlin Scroggs and Sadie Carter of Plew Elementary and Izel Fitzpatrick and Angelisa Sierra of Walker Elementary School.

Two other awards were given: The Tax Collector's Choice went to Zachary Gideons of Plew Elementary, and the Sheriff's Choice went to Destini Howard of Northwood Elementary School.