NJ Governor’s Awards in Arts Education announces winners

TRENTON, NJ — Students and adult leaders will receive the state’s most prestigious award in the arts at the 40th anniversary of the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education on June 26 at 5 p.m. This virtual event will recognize 70 students and 15 adult leaders who have demonstrated excellence in and dedication to arts education.

The virtual awards will feature award-winning storyteller and alumna Queen Nur as the master of ceremonies, alumni guest speakers, performances from past and present award winners, and a visual arts exhibit.

Past and present winner performances will include: vocal performance by Anna Rehberg of Montville Township High School; freestyle rap by Nasir Baker of North Star Academy and Lincoln Park High School; poetry reading by Jasmine Livingston of Northern Burlington Regional High School; dramatic duo performance by Jewel Nadia Vito and Gaten Matarazzo of Pinelands Regional High School; instrumental performance by Kelvin Zheng of East Brunswick High School; group performance by Dance NJ students; dance by a teaching artist from Hip Hop Fundamentals; musician and past winner Ricky Persaud Jr.; dance by a teaching artist from Thunderbird American Indian Dancers; poetry reading by Mikayla Griffin of Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts; and vocal performance by Brianna Roberts of Ewing High School.

The ceremony will be livestreamed via YouTube, Facebook and www.njgaae.org. This is a free event that is open to the public. Register to attend at www.njgaae.org to receive additional details.

Among the 2020 award winners are:

  • Ruth Donagher from West Orange High School won the Lighting Design Award; she was nominated by NJ Thespians.
  • Mikayla Griffin from Cicely Tyson won the Humanities and Performance Arts Award; she was nominated by NJ State Conference of the NAACP ACT-SO Program.
  • Teacher Kristy Lopez from Liberty Middle School won the Claire Flanagan Award; she was nominated by Art Educators of New Jersey.
  • Joe Nalieth and Matthew Schwartz of WOHS won the Improvisational Pairs Award; they were nominated by Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey.
  • Trevor Lavine, Janae Owens, Amber Ruffin, Nimat Saleem, Nicolas Stewart, Ashley Tait, Kimberly Val and Kaya Walcott from Cicely Tyson won the Musical Group Award; they were nominated by NJ Thespians.
  • Anais St. Amant from Nutley High School won a High School Scholarship Award; St. Amant was nominated by Art Educators of New Jersey.

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