Seth Peiris is a senior and valedictorian of his graduating class at Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ. Both a bassoonist and cellist, he is a member of his high school’s wind ensemble, “Virtuosi” chamber orchestra, and pit orchestra for the school musical. Since eighth grade, Seth has also been a dedicated member of the CHS marching band, rising to the role of Assistant Drum Major this past year. Furthermore, he has played in the Ravina Youth Orchestra throughout his time in high school. Over the last four years, Seth has performed with many wonderful musicians in numerous honors ensembles, like Area, Region, All-State, and All-Eastern. In addition to thanking the organizations that offer these opportunities to him and his peers, Seth would like to thank all his music teachers for their great influences on his education and accomplishments, including Peter Bauer, Todd Van Beveren, and his bassoon teacher Wendy Large.


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.