Kids Tag Art Gets Creative with Mini Award Presentations

From L to R: Curlew Creek Elementary principal with Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas, Tax Collector Choice Winner Oliver O., and art teacher

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL – With large-scale celebrations and gatherings canceled across the globe throughout the pandemic, the Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office found a way to give personalized recognition to local fifth-grade students.

The 2020-2021 school year marks the sixth year for the Kids Tag Art Pinellas (KTA) program, a partnership between the Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office, Pinellas County Schools, and various community sponsors, to raise money for local elementary art classrooms. The KTA program enables participating art teachers to purchase much-needed classroom art supplies without having to dig into their own pockets.

Funds are raised through online sales of the fifth-grade students’ artwork – unique, front-facing vanity plates. 100 percent of the proceeds go back into the classrooms.

Part of the KTA program entails a juried art contest where winners from each participating school are selected by a panel of judges and community sponsors. Every January, since inception, these student winners are invited to a special awards ceremony and recognized on stage in front of family and friends. However, this year, due to COVID-19, the award ceremony went virtual.

Although the student winners were celebrated virtually, Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas and his KTA team felt that something was missing – the aspect of personal recognition.  So, they came up with a creative way to do something a little extra for this year’s special sponsor choice award winners. Out of more than 1,100 design submissions, 10 select students were hand-picked by the KTA Pinellas program’s top sponsors to receive recognition, including a framed certificate featuring their artwork as well as sponsor swag bags. The KTA team coordinated with the winning students’ schools to create personal, safe, and socially distanced award ceremonies.

“This year, a lot had to change because of COVID-19, both for our offices and our Kids Tag Art team,” Thomas said. “One thing that we did not want to change was celebrating these talented students. This program means a lot to our organization and it really is all about these students. They deserve to be recognized for this accomplishment.”                                                                                                          

2020-2021 Kids Tag Art Sponsor Choice Winners:

  • Tax Collector Choice Award
    • Oliver O., Curlew Creek Elementary
  • CenterState Bank Sponsor Choice Award
    • Kayleigh R., Oakhurst Elementary
  • Tag Agency of Pinellas Choice Award
    • Chloe T., Seminole Elementary
  • Florida Heart Research Foundation Sponsor Choice Award
    • Sylas F., Southern Oak Elementary
  • Direct Mail Systems, Inc. Sponsor Choice Award
    • Nicholas H., Fuguitt Elementary
  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Sponsor Choice Award
    • Emma T., Ozona Elementary
  • Office & Flooring Worx Sponsor Choice Award
    • Zoe B., Ozona Elementary
  • Lauren’s Kids Sponsor Choice Award
    • Jaela T., Brooker Creek Elementary
  • Bill2Pay Sponsor Choice Award
    • Gabe M., Brooker Creek Elementary
  • Cici’s Pizza Sponsor Choice Award
    • Kaydynce M., Starkey Elementary

Thomas and his KTA team visited the school of each winning student to present the awards. The winners were extremely excited and proud, and many invited their parents, art teachers, and peers to attend.  Thomas personally recognized each winner by congratulating them on their achievement and presenting them with their awards.

“We were thrilled the principals of these schools were so willing to help bring this idea to fruition. They wanted to give these students special recognition for their achievement as much as my team and I did,” said Thomas.  “Our KTA program wouldn’t be the success it is if we didn’t have the support of these principals and art teachers in our community and we are so very grateful for everything they do.”

Over 1,100 students from all over the county participated in this year’s program and the Tax Collector’s office has raised over $30,000 in donations alone from generous local sponsors. Since its inception, more than $200,000 has been raised by Kids Tag Art Pinellas for local elementary art classrooms and programs. The winning tags from this year will be placed on display in Tax Collector offices around the county soon. To find out more about Kids Tag Art, view and shop this year’s student art, or to become a sponsor, visit kidstagartpinellas.org. 

 

From L to R: Oakhurst Elementary principal, CenterState Bank Sponsor Choice Winner, Kayleigh R., Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas, Oakhurst art teacher, and Kayleigh’s mother

 

From L to R: Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas with Tag Agency of Pinellas Sponsor Award Winner Chloe T., Seminole Elementary principal, and art teacher

 

From L to R: Florida Heart Research Foundation Sponsor winner Sylas. F with Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas outside of Southern Oak Elementary

 

From L to R: Fuguitt Elementary principal and art teacher, father with Direct Mail Systems Sponsor winner Nicholas H., Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas, and teacher

 

From L to R: Ozona Elementary principal and teacher with Pinellas County Sheriff’s Sponsor Winner Emma. T. and Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas

 

From L to R: Ozona Elementary art teacher, mother with Office and Flooring Worx Sponsor winner Zoe B., Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas

 

From L to R: Lauren’s Kids Sponsor Winner Jaela. T. and Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas outside of Brooker Creek Elementary

 

From L to R: Mother and Bill2Pay Sponsor Winner Gabe M. with Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas, and Brooker Creek Elementary teacher

 

From L to R: Starkey Elementary principal, Cici’s Pizza Sponsor winner Kaydynce M., Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles W. Thomas

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ABOUT THE PINELLAS COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE: The Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office is a constitutionally elected office. Responsibilities include collecting and distributing state and local taxes and providing driver license and motor vehicle registration services to Pinellas County residents. For more information, visit taxcollect.com.