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Day, Grace Receive State Superintendent's Awards for Arts Excellence

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Both Shawnee High School Senior Emily Day and Superintendent Dr. April Grace have received special recognition from the State Superintendent's Awards for Arts Excellence.

"This award is the highest accolade by the State of Oklahoma honoring students, teachers and administrators who exemplify arts excellence," said Chris Barber, chair of the Oklahoma alliance for Arts Education and fine arts administrator for Owasso Public Schools.

Day was nominated for the award by SHS Director of Choral Music Justin Lee. She is one of only 36 vocal music students to receive this honor.

Dr. Grace is one of two administrator honorees and the only district superintendent to receive the award for 2020. Administrators are honored for their leadership and support of quality arts education and academic excellence in Oklahoma schools. Also receiving administrator honors is Marie Howard, an assistant principal at Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City.

The State Superintendent's Awards for Arts Excellence are typically recognized in an annual event, but the global pandemic forced cancellation of an in-person recognition this year. The high school juniors and seniors who won awards in band, dance, drama/theater, instrumental music, piano, visual arts and vocal music will receive their medals and certificates later this spring. As an administrator honoree, Dr. Grace will receive a plaque and letters of commendation.

This year, 157 Oklahoma students were honored with the Arts Excellence award. Representatives of the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education reviewed all nominations during the selection process.