On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, World Class Schools of Leon County, a program of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce will host the 19th Annual Best & Brightest Awards Ceremony, awarding scholarships to highly deserving high school graduates for their leadership skills, academic accomplishments, and community service involvement. This exciting event is an energetic countywide program which kicks off the seniors’ celebrations through the month of May of their high school careers.

The awards have expanded greatly since their first year in 2006. About 80 students were given scholarships during the program’s inaugural year. This year, 134 seniors were carefully selected from local public and private high schools to be finalists in each of the 15 categories. Winners will be announced live at the event on Wednesday.

Laura Rogers, Program Director of the Best & Brightest, said, “The schools choose their most qualified students through their direct involvement with the academic growth of these fine young people. After a rigorous application and interview process by a panel of local experts with years of experience in the field, there are three finalists chosen to be the winners of each category, for a total of 45 winners. Each winner receives a $1,500 scholarship and a trophy. Runners-up and honorable mentions receive scholarships of $750 and $500, respectively, and trophies. All other finalists receive a $100 scholarship in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments.” Best & Brightest’ Presenting Sponsor, Envision Credit Union has underwritten the scholarships for this program since its inception, gifting over six hundred ninety-five thousand dollars in scholarships to these commendable students.

Additionally, the Best & Brightest Eighth Grade Essay contest will honor 59 students who are the top three-ranking essayists from their middle schools. Three students’ essays were then selected as the top winners who wrote about their experiences with helping others in the community. Those top winners will receive $100 to $500, and all essayists earn a certificate of recognition.

The Best & Brightest Awards was launched 19 years ago by community leader, Ron Sachs, to recognize young leaders’ selfless service to others and the collective impact they make on our community. Sachs Media continues to support the program as a major sponsor, along with the Tallahassee Democrat. More sponsors/supporters include AT&T, Awards4U, City of Tallahassee, Comcast, Florida Association of District School Superintendents, HUB International, Leon County, Leon County Schools, Nabors Giblin & Nickerson P.A., NAI Talcor, Ron Sachs and Gay Webster-Sachs, Sperry Construction, Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Target Print & Mail, and Whataburger.