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Sixth Annual Pride, Patriotism Concert a go

By Staff | Sep 12, 2008

While its future had been uncertain for some time, Lee County School Board Member Elinor Scricca announced Tuesday that the Sixth Annual Pride and Patriotism Concert will continue as scheduled thanks to contributions from organizations across the county.

Scricca explained that the committee had no intention of canceling the event, but it was uneasy because of how this year’s economy affected the school district budget.

“With the budget problems we had this year, I was skeptical until we started asking the community and they came forward,” she said. “It is an idea that I had for a long time and I thank the board and superintendent for their cooperation and encouragement.”

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers.

“We have received community contributions from service clubs, veterans organizations, Embarq, the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and construction companies,” Scricca said.

Each year students across the county participate in an art competition showcasing their pride and patriotism where they create either a work of visual art, such as a painting, or write poetry.

Themes this year include “March of the Brave,” “Brave Loved Ones” and “Concrete Heroes.”

Winners are announced the day of the concert and the winning pieces are showcased at Barbara B. Mann. Each winner is also recognized onstage along with a local veteran who will present them with a medal.

Scricca said that this year Maestro Michael Hall, conductor of the Southwest Florida Symphony, will lead the Southwest Florida Youth Orchestra.

“It’s made up of our students from across Lee County who are excellent musicians,” she said.

Last year, Cypress Lake High School’s orchestra performed at the concert, led by Michael Simpson, the school’s music director and conductor.

Some of the winners of the 2007 poetry contest include Angelie Batista from Caloosa Elementary, Carly Anne Gunderson from Diplomat Middle, Kyle Michael Ramey from Cape Coral High and Haley Gentile from Cape Coral High.

Natalie Hill, from Pine Island Elementary, won in the 2007 visual arts category, as did Daniela Hurtado from the North Fort Myers Academy. Brandon Stowe, Brian Poelker and Haley Carlson, all from North Fort Myers High, also won for visual arts.

Scricca commended the committee who worked hard to organize the event.

“Our committee members are veterans, people from the community and our own people who are giving up their time because they believe in the program. We all work very hard to put it on,” she said. “We usually fill up the hall.”