The program, at its heart, began as a drawing contest. However, since 2010, the program has become much more – in large part, due to the community engagement, education, and outreach features. In 2015, the program drew interest from nearly half of Pasco County’s public elementary schools. In 2016, the program set another record for the total value of prizes donated by the local community. Over the years, the contest has been featured in local news sources, received praise from the Board of County Commissioners for Pasco County, and has even won recognition from the American Water Works Association as a “Best in Class” program for its emphasis on outreach and education.
Since the program is developed with guidance from the District School Board of Pasco County, the program is mindful of curriculum standards and can be implemented by both art and science elementary teachers. The contest also features opportunities for presentations from FGUA and/or Pasco County Utilities staff, so that teachers, staff, and teachers can learn more about water. Each year, the theme changes so that teachers can look forward to teaching water in new and exciting ways.
Working each year to involve local community sponsors, the program is able to provide participants and winners with cool prizes. In years’ past, we’ve received generous support from Big Cat Rescue, Chick-Fil-A, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Cold Stone, Crispers, Florida Aquarium, Homosassa Springs, Keep Pasco Beautiful, Lowry Park Zoo, Monster Mini Golf, MOSI, Office Depot, Publix, Regal Cinemas, Republic Services, Tampa Bay Water, Tree Hoppers Aerial Adventure Park, as well as other contributions from the local community.
The winners of the program will have the honor of knowing that their work made it through a rigorous judging process that met the expectations of community volunteers, guest judges, and a Pasco County Commissioner. Winners will also receive sponsor donated awards. Past awards have included things such as gift cards, stuffed animals, and admission passes to local attractions.
The program emphasizes recognizing teachers and students for their achievements and initiative. Winning participants get bragging rights for having their poster displayed in two locations in Pasco County. And every student that participates will get a certificate. Teachers who participate will also get something for their effort.
Awards and Prizes
Overall, there will be 18 winners across Kindergarten through Fifth grades. First place winners receive trophies. Second and third place winners receive ribbons or rosettes. Students who place in the contest will also receive cool prizes that are donated from local sponsors. This year, we’re pleased to announce that there will also be honorable mention awards that will be presented by our sponsors.