Samantha is a senior at Cedar Grove High School. She has been taking art classes all four years, is a member of the Art Crew for school productions, and her work has been displayed in several community art exhibitions. Sam’s favorite medium to work with is acrylic paint, but she has been working to improve her watercolor skills, as seen in her piece, Irish Dance Shoes. Her future plans include majoring in art education, and she hopes to be an inspiring leader for those passionate about the arts. Sam is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, and her extracurricular activities include Varsity Volleyball, Track and Field, Irish Dancing, and a wide variety of school clubs. In addition to her school involvement, she is an active member of her church and youth group and is working towards her Gold Award in Girl Scouts.

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.