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    Richard Vespucci
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For Release: May 20, 2005


Governor’s Awards in Arts Education Marks Silver Anniversary

A statewide program designed to recognize excellence in the visual and performing arts in New Jersey’s public schools reaches a major milestone next week. The 25th Annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education will be held at 4:30 p.m. on May 26 at The College of New Jersey’s Kendall Hall.

Eighteen educators and 84 students from throughout New Jersey will receive awards for their outstanding accomplishments. The students were selected by national and statewide organizations for their exemplary work in creative writing, music, dance, theatre and the visual arts. The educators will receive awards from several cooperating national and state arts organizations for their exceptional commitment and contributions to arts education in New Jersey.

Acting Governor Richard J. Codey congratulated this year’s award-winning students and teachers for their accomplishments. "Since 1981, we have been able to showcase the talent of nearly 2,500 students and more than 250 educators who have helped them strive for excellence in the arts," Acting Governor Codey said. "We are proud of our commitment as a state to the arts, and prouder still of the achievements of these remarkable young people and their teachers."

"No quality education is complete without exposure to the visual and performing arts," said Commissioner of Education William L. Librera. "Twenty-five years ago, we celebrated the first Governor’s Awards in Arts Education with great excitement, because it represented official state recognition to the vital role the arts play in the growth and development of our young people. On this anniversary year, we hold the same sense of excitement, enhanced by our successful efforts over the years to ensure that the arts remain a part of the core knowledge and skills all students should possess."

Shirley Sasor, director of Friends of Teen Arts, said: "Friends of Teen Arts has been committed to providing innovative opportunities in the arts for New Jersey teenagers since 1969. The arts do make a positive difference in the lives of teenagers! We are especially proud to co-sponsor the 25th Annual Governor’s Awards in Arts Education, honoring the students and educators in our state whose artistic achievements demonstrate excellence and personal commitment and inspire us all."

Commissioner Librera and State Board of Education Member Roberta Van Anda will present the award winners with medallions. The ceremony will also include student performances in music and theatre.

The event will begin with a slide show of award-winning visual art. Dr. Librera and Dr. James Lentini, Dean of the School of Art, Media and Music at The College of New Jersey, will deliver remarks at 5 p.m., followed by the presentation of awards.

Many state-level arts organizations cooperate each year to co-sponsor and plan the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education. They are:

Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO)
Art Educators of New Jersey
Art Administrators of New Jersey
Institute for Arts and Humanities Education
New Jersey Association for Health, Recreation, Physical Education, and Dance
New Jersey Council of Teachers of English
New Jersey Forensic League
New Jersey Governor’s School of the Arts
New Jersey Music Educators Association
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey
Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey
VSA arts of New Jersey

Attached is a list of award-winning students and educators. If an asterisk appears with a name on the list, the recipient is an educator. If the name is in italics, biographical information and / or photos of the recipient are available on request.

IN ADDITION TO ATTENDING THE CEREMONIES, REPORTERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO MEET AND INTERVIEW THE AWARD RECIPIENTS IN THEIR SCHOOLS AT ANY TIME BEFORE OR AFTER THE EVENT.