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Updated: 05/10/2018 08:30:02AM

Kids Tag Art winners celebrated

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Alan Jay Wildstein with Jude Halpern after placing Halpern’s tag on one of Alan Jay Automotive Network courtesy van.


Highlands Country Tax Collector Eric T. Zwayer presents Ellie Smoak with the Tax Collector’s Choice Award.


Distinction Winners were in the Highlands County Tax Collector’s Office Kids Tag Art Program were recognized Monday inside the Circle Theatre.


CEO of the Champion for Children Foundation Carissa Marine announces that Teraj’e Walker won the Champion for Children Choice Award.


Ladd Gose comes up to the state during Monday's ceremony.


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SEBRING — Forty-nine fifth graders were honored Monday night at the Children’s Circle Theatre in Sebring with Awards of Distinction Winners for artwork entry in the Highlands County Tax Collector’s Office Kids Tag Art Program.

Highlands County is one of 12 counties that participate in the Kids Tag Art, with Highlands County being the second county to be involved. Polk County was the first. Over the years, the program has raised over $1 million to support the arts in schools. Highlands County has raised over $80,000.

“None of this would have been possible without the partnerships we have in the community, with the Alan Jay Automotive Network, the Champions for Children Foundation and the Highlands County School Board,” said said Highlands County Tax Collector Eric Zwayer.

“I just wanted to celebrate you guys tonight and for sharing your creative talents and all your amazing artwork,” said CEO of the Champion for Children Foundation Carissa Marine. “Because you were able to share that with us, we were able to raise all that money that Mr. Eric Zwayer just said for your school’s art programs.

“That gives money to your elementary school, middle school and we were also able to give money to the high school. I just wanted to say thanks for that and thank you for joining us tonight.”

“We are so proud of the talent in this room,” noted Alan Jay Wildstein. “I want to give a quick shout out to the students because, ladies and gentlemen, they did an amazing job, all the entries were so incredible.”

The Distinction Winners from each school are follows:

Avon Elementary: Gabrielle Berlin, Hailee Gordon, Sadie Lane, Braci O’Berry and Sadie Oshetsky.

Cracker Trail Elementary: Elizabeth Allen, Lauren Kelly, Ryan Okupski, Brooklyn Reed and Rachel Swaine.

Fred Wild Elementary: Kayliya Elliott, Amanda McKenna and Angeline Saloma.

Heartland Christian: Sarah Bauer and David Fritis.

Lake Country Elementary: Celene Chillemi, Ezekiel Daley, Lowyn Harrison, Jachelle Johnson and Teraj’e Walker.

Lake Placid Elementary: Francia Armas Pena, Amariah Fannin, Jude Halpern, Ryan Hutzenlaub and Tatiana Sequinot Luina.

Lakeview Christian: Austin Hill and Ellie Smoak.

Memorial Elementary: Emma Alvarez, Hailey Andrews, Kian Marasigan, Bryan Mendoza and Mia Smith.

Park Elementary: Chanel Evans, Calost Fils, Liceomariz Pagan, Madison Taylor and Emily Tularam.

Sun-N-Lake Elementary: Stephon Allen, Morgan Durrance, Erick Jirau, Connor McDaniel and Hunter Van Rooyen.

Walker Memorial Academy: Celestina Fajardo and Alana Hofmann.

Woodlawn Elementary: Whytni Adams, Ladd Gose, Rubee Hernandez, Ella Kutzuk and Leilani Soule Aires.

For the big three awards presented, it was for the first time, according to Zwayer, a clean sweep by Lake Placid.

Teraj’e Walker of Lake Country Elementary won the Champion of Children Choice Award.

Jude Halpern of Lake Placid Elementary won the Alan Jay Choice Award.

Elle Smoak of Lakeview Christian won the Tax Collector’s Choice Award.

Kids Tag Art Award of Distinction tags are available for purchase online at the following website: All proceeds go to the schools for their art program.