Wesley Sanders is a senior at Vernon Township High School.  He is the principal tubist of his school’s Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Brass Choir.  Additionally, Wesley plays bass trombone in his high school’s Jazz Band and Pit Orchestra. He has been Drum Major of the Viking Marching Band for two years.  He is also a four-year member of the Sussex County Youth Orchestra, where he will be a featured soloist in the upcoming spring concert.  Wesley has successfully auditioned and has served as principal tubist of multiple honors ensembles throughout his high school tenure, including the Sussex County Honors Band, North Jersey Area Wind Ensemble, North Jersey Region I Wind Ensemble, New Jersey All-State Orchestra, and the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble.  Most recently, he was the winner of the 2022 New Jersey Wind Symphony Youth Soloist Competition.   Wesley currently studies privately with Barbara Garrison and John Palatucci, and plans to pursue music in college with a minor in tuba performance.


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.