LIVINGSTON, NJ — Two Livingston High School students, Joyce He and Ian Hurrel, were recently named recipients of 2020 New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education (NJGAAE) and will be honored during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 26 at 5 p.m.

The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English (NJCTE) nominated He for the “1st Place Essay” award after the junior earned a Certificate of Superior Writing in the 2020 NJCTE Achievement Awards in Writing Competition for her piece, "Why I Write."  She was one of 137 students to receive a Certificate of Superior Writing out of 370 nominees.

Hurrel, a guitarist in the Lancers Jazz Band, was selected by the New Jersey Music Educators Association and earned the NJGAAE award titled “All-State Jazz Ensemble.”

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According to its website, the NJGAAE program aims to “provide a public forum for the governor and Commissioner of Education to recognize a select group of students and adult leaders for their achievements in arts education; achieve awareness at the state government executive level of the achievements in the arts education by New Jersey’s students and adult leaders; increase public awareness of the high level of excellence in arts education in New Jersey’s schools and provide public recognition for the school, agencies and school districts represented by the award recipients; and increase public awareness of the state organizations that support and recognize high-quality arts education.”

Although other states have similar programs, New Jersey’s is unique in that the nomination process involves national and statewide organizations whose goal is to “uphold the integrity of the program through their award recommendations.”

Despite being held virtually this year, the ceremony will still bring together award winners from all over the state, ranging from 80 to 100 students and about 20 leaders in arts education.

The NJGAAE program is developed, directed and coordinated through the volunteer efforts of members of the planning council, which is made up of representatives from various state and national associations such as the ones that nominated Hurrel and He for their respective awards.

CLICK HERE to see a full list of winners.