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Hefziba Campos, a sophomore, graduating with the class of 2023, is proud to be part of the Speech and Debate team at Summit High School. Competing all season, this year and last year, she has won multiple local tournaments, as well as competing in multiple events. Although still in the middle of her high school career, Hefziba has involved herself with the theatre program at Summit, not only appearing in three different shows but helping out behind the scenes. Along with that, she is a valuable member of multiple Latino heritage clubs, such as Union Hispana and ESL Mentoring. She is bilingual, fluent in both Spanish and English, and she helps out the elementary school students who are learning English as a second language. Academically, she has received Magna Cum Laude her freshman year and hopes to receive Summa Cum Laude at the end of this year. She is so grateful to be a part of such an accepting community at Summit High School and has to thank, none other than her amazing coach, Anne Poyner. She truly has a passion for her job and has easily shown every one of her students that words can change the world, and it all starts with people like Hefziba.

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.