Felix Tavarez is a Latino dancer and senior at Union City High School. He has participated as a dancer in the UCHS Dance Company which trains in various dance styles, and participates in community performances and choreography projects. He also danced with the UCHS Drillettes Dance Team which is the schools only competitive team that offers training in jazz and hip hop. Finally, he has participated in various musicals and acted as dance captain, and assistant choreographer. During his summers, he has trained with Nimbus Dance Works in Jersey City, NJ; which allowed him to expand his technique and seek training outside of high school. He started formal dance training his freshman year under the instruction of Cristen Pennello and Emma Russo, and his theater training with Anthony Gusevich who assigned and mentored the creation of his highlighted work HEAVEN. He hopes to continue to grow as a performer and choreographer and plans on pursuing his artistic journey as a dance major in college.

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The Governor’s Awards in Arts Education began in 1980 to promote awareness and appreciation of the arts, recognizing the creativity, talent and leadership of the award winners. Each year, awards are presented to approximately 20 educators and 80 students. National and statewide organizations select the students for their exemplary work in creative writing, speech, dance, music, theatre and visual arts and the leaders for their exceptional commitment and contribution to arts education. The program also recognizes arts educators and arts education advocates, whose leadership has helped nurture the development of students in the arts across the state.

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The Governor’s Awards event is a partnership of the Arts Ed NJ, the Department of Education, Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, the Department of State and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional support is provided by: the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; Art Educators of New Jersey; Art Administrators of New Jersey; Dance New Jersey; New Jersey Council of Teachers of English; New Jersey Speech and Debate League; New Jersey Music Educators Association; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Writer's Theatre of New Jersey; Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Thespians and Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. The cooperating organizations, award sponsors and individual members of the planning council dedicate their time to make sure that excellence in the arts is rewarded, and work tirelessly throughout the year to plan this special event. The Governor's Awards in Arts Education ceremony are a major collaborative effort of the arts, education and state government.