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PECS student wins statewide Hispanic heritage contest

Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School kindergarten student Eziel Juarez, front and center, with his mother Eduarda Lala Anselmo, Gov. Ron DeSantis, his father and brother in the governor’s mansion after Eziel was recognized for his winning drawing in a Hispanic Heritage Month contest in November. (Courtesy photo)

BRIGHTON — Five-year-old Eziel Juarez wasn’t nervous at all when he went to Tallahassee to meet Gov. Ron DeSantis and shake his hand in November.

Eziel is the only kindergarten student in the state to win an award in this year’s Florida Department of Education’s Hispanic Heritage Month art and essay contest.

Eziel, a student at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School on the Brighton Reservation, won the art contest for his drawing of an influential person in his community. That person happened to be his mother, Eduarda Lala Anselmo, a teacher at the school.

“The theme was influential Hispanics in your community,” Anselmo said. “We are a prime example of the American dream.”

Anselmo teaches English in the Creek immersion class and was recently named the school’s teacher of the year. She had her students enter the contest after she taught a section about Hispanic heritage. Eziel, who loves to draw, also entered the contest.

Born in Mexico, Anselmo’s family moved to the U.S. in 1990. Education played a big part in her life. She earned an associate of arts degree before she graduated from Okeechobee High School. She embarked on a teaching career after she graduated from Florida Atlantic University.

Eziel’s drawing is about Anselmo because he said she works hard and helps other people. She is also his best friend.

“I’m happy that I won,” Eziel said. “I was excited to see the governor. I like him.”

The trip to Tallahassee was Eziel’s first time staying in a hotel. He was impressed by the big beds and the television. He was also impressed by the governor’s mansion.

“It was big and had a lot of flags and books,” he said. “There were a lot of people there.”

A few fun facts about Eziel: Halloween is his favorite holiday followed by Christmas. He also likes the fall and July. His favorite part of the school day is the time he spends in the play centers, He likes recess and going to the park and he wants to be a policeman when he grows up. Eziel also plans to keep drawing.

Eziel Juarez’s winning drawing shows his mother, father, brother and himself along with the flag of Mexico. (Courtesy photo)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at