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For two years, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted many special recognition events, and Polk County Public Schools could not host an in-person banquet for nominees for the Teacher and School-Related Employee of the Year.

Superintendent Fred Heid wanted to find a way to acknowledge the past two years’ worth of nominees and finally give them a chance to come together for their complimentary dinner celebrating their commitment to placing Students First.

A special event was held tonight (Oct. 28) to honor these outstanding teachers and school staff members who never got their chance to come together for an in-person celebration.

Tonight’s event — A Night of Inspiration — was held at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City, and approximately 200 guests attended.

Please see the following link for photos from tonight’s event: ( 

We greatly appreciate the generosity of our sponsors for making this celebration possible. Sponsors for the event include: Essential Catering Solutions, Aramark, Publix Super Markets Charities, City of Haines City, Coke Florida, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, Boswell & Dunlap, Mosaic, Polk Education Association and TECO.

NOTE: Tonight’s event was NOT for the current Teacher and School-Related Employee nominees for the 2022-2023 school year. They will be invited and celebrated at a separate event called the Inspire Awards, which will be held in December.

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