NICEVILLE — Thirty-one students from across Okaloosa County were recognized at Cox Communications' annual Inspirational Student Hero awards ceremony last week inside the student services building at Northwest Florida State College.

Two of those 31 students were from Destin — Patrick Enriquez of Destin Elementary and Zane Bennett of Destin Middle School.

The Student Hero awards dates back 25 years when they started in the New Orleans market, said Cam Johnson, spokesman for Cox southeast region. To date, Cox has recognized more than 4,000 students from Lafayette, Louisiana, to Gainesville.

"It's really part of our culture here at Cox to be involved," Johnson said. "This is something we can do to recognize students who deserve their time in the spotlight."

Students heroes are nominated and chosen by their respective schools for overcoming some kind of adversity and becoming a source of inspiration for their teachers, administrators and fellow students.

"We hear a lot of stories about students who turn their lives around," Johnson said.

On May 16, the students were each announced at the awards ceremony and presented with an engraved medallion, certificate of achievement from Cox Communications and certificates from Congressman Matt Gaetz, Senator Doug Broxson and Representative Mel Ponder.

Johnson said the award ceremony is truly a favorite event for Cox Communications.

"We laugh, we cry, we have a good time," he said.