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A huge Congratulations to Gabriella Lanza for being named the WINNER of the 2020 Congressional Art Competition with her incredible work titled Ocean Layer! Gabriella is a student at South Walton High School where she studies with art teacher Dr. Vivian Komando. Gabriella's art will hang in the United States Capitol!

First Place Congressional Art Competition 2020

First Place Winner CAC 2020

Congratulations also goes to Marie Claire Brown from South Walton High School under the tutelage of Dr. Komando for being named 1st runner up in the 2020 Congressional Art Competition.

First Runner Up CAC Marie Claire Brown

We are so proud of these amazing art students and their teacher!

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.

Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC. The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.

The Florida Congressional Art Competition is sponsored by Congressman Matt Gaetz.

You can view the awards ceremony at

Bay Explorers

May 29, 2020


An Update from Superintendent A. Russell Hughes


On our last official day of the 2019-2020 school year, I wanted to take the time to say a sincere thank you to all Walton County School District students, parents, and employees.

The last few months have been like nothing we have ever experienced, but at the same time, I can share story after story of excellence, professionalism, innovation, and collaboration.  In Walton County, we call that the Walton Way – EPIC.  Those are the only words to describe you!  From bus drivers and food service workers delivering food to families to parents working on a math problem over a conference call with teachers, everyone has stepped up to the “new normal” and even exceeded expectations.

Before the summer starts, I do want to share a few updates with you.

First, our summer feeding program will continue as it has in year’s past.  Feeding will begin June 11 and run every Thursday (June 11, June 18, June 25, July 1, July 9, July 16, July 23, and July 30).  Please note July 1, our holiday week, will be on a Wednesday.  Our two food locations are Walton Middle School in DeFuniak Springs and Freeport High School in Freeport.  We will offer a curbside service from 10:00 a.m. until 12 noon. 

Second, we have put together a short survey for parents.  You can access the survey HERE.  Please take a few minutes to help us plan for the 2020-2021 school year.  Your feedback is very important to us.  We want to know your thoughts surrounding health, safety, and returning to school.

Finally, as I stated above, we do appreciate everyone’s hard work and enthusiasm during these past two months.  If you would like to recognize a Walton County School District employee or school who has gone above and beyond, please feel free to send a compliment via our text line at 850.204.9667.  We will be sure to pass on your “shout-out” to your child’s school!

Please continue to stay safe, healthy, and connected to your school for updates.  Have a great summer and thank you again for another great school year!

Bay School says “These “littles” are our future, and our “why!”

So precious! Our eyes might be leaking.....#happytears #preciousbabies #ourfuture


WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) - We think it's important to share some positive news each day.

For today's 850 Good News, a few students in Walton County drew some pictures with positive messages. Walton County School District shared the photos on Facebook.

Lexan, a first grader at Van R. Butler, drew a picture with a very special "thank you" to firefighters who helped save homes during the recent Musset Bayou Wildfire.

Van R. Butler Elementary School kindergartner, Eloise, has an important message. Her picture shows a girl wearing a mask reminding us all to stay safe.

Help us share good news each day. Post on social with #850GoodNews or submit your photo or video on our website.