Broward County Heritage Celebration to Feature Keynote Speaker Robert W. Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools
"Broward's Education History: A Path to the Future" the Theme for 2012 Celebration and Awards
DATE: April 16, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Denyse Cunningham
PHONE: 954-357-5513

The Broward County Historical Commission will host the Broward County Heritage Celebration at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, at the historic West Side Grade School, 301 Harmon (S.W. 13th) Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. This year’s theme, "Broward’s Education History: A Path to the Future," was selected in honor of Historic Preservation Month, celebrated annually each May. The event will feature keynote speaker, Robert W. Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, and musical selections by the Blanche Ely High School Jazz Cats.

The program will also include a presentation of the following preservation awards: the Judge L. Clayton Nance Award, the Dr. Cooper Kirk Award, the Stuart B. McIver Historian's Award and the Historical Commissioners' Award. Additionally, high school students who earned first place in the 2012 Broward County History Fair as well as the student winner of the Regional History Bee will be recognized. Refreshments will be served. The Historical Commission gallery will display an exhibit featuring Broward County’s early schools.

Since 1973, the Broward County Historical Commission has recognized individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to historic preservation, research, advocacy and education. The Historical Commission will present the following four awards:

• The Judge L. Clayton Nance Award will be presented to the Florida Public Archaeology Network for its continued efforts to educate the public about archaeology and history. The New River: Then and Now exhibit is a fine example of presenting local history through thoughtful interpretation. The Florida Public Archaeology Network’s commitment to the preservation of archaeological heritage follows the tradition set by Judge Nance when he founded the Historical Commission in 1972.

• The Dr. Cooper Kirk Award will be presented to the Friends of Shippey House, who worked tirelessly raising funds to save the home from destruction. Due to these grass-roots efforts, the Shippey House, first occupied in 1913 by Broward County’s second judge, Fred Shippey, will be preserved. Their attempts to raise public awareness of the historic importance of this building mirror those of Dr. Cooper Kirk, the first Broward County Historian, whose dedication to historical research of the County was unparalleled.

• The Stuart B. McIver Historian's Award will be presented to Benjamin B. Little for his book, Wilton Manors: From Farming Community to Urban Village, written with the Wilton Manors Historical Society. In an ongoing pursuit to educate the public about the significant local history of the city of Wilton Manors, this historical community project resulted in a fine account of the city.

• The Historical Commissioners' Award will be presented to Benjamin J. Williams for his long-term commitment and service to the education of Broward County’s children and as one of the most respected educators in the history of the Broward County schools. Mr. Williams was one of the first African-American educators to integrate an all-white school in the County. He has served as principal of four prominent schools and has been a member of the Broward County School Board since 2000.

The Broward County Historical Commission, the official historic preservation agency for Broward County, encourages residents and their communities to promote the unique archaeological and historical legacy of Broward County and to utilize the tools and financial incentives available to accomplish this effort.

The award-winning Broward County Libraries Division, founded in 1974, is the ninth largest library system in the nation by population served and one of the busiest, with more than 9 million walk-in customers visiting its 37 locations annually. The library has more than 3.4 million items and 2,000 computers for public use and offers hundreds of events and programs to meet the needs of the Broward County's diverse community. The library continues its strong emphasis on literacy, after-school programs and electronic access. In addition to our comprehensive Web site,, which provides information about library activities, links to online catalogs, reference information and databases, customers can visit BCL WoW – Broward County Library Without Walls – for free eBooks, music, audiobooks, apps and more. Customers may also follow Libraries on Facebook and Twitter. Libraries Division also administers the services, programs, collections and exhibits of the Historical Commission.
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