BERGEN COUNTY, NJ – Students from Paramus High School and Bergen County Academies will be among the 110 honorees recognized this year at the New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education.

The annual event highlights students from across the state, as well as teachers, parents, businesses and community leaders who support their work. Now in its 39thyear, the recognition is considered to be the highest arts honor in the Garden State by both state and national arts organizations.

Priscilla Hopkins-Smith, director of the Annual NJ Governor’s Awards in Arts Education, emphasized that the event is truly unique.

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“Other states may have their own Governor’s Awards but no other state focuses on arts educations and our students like we do. The array of distinguished awards in visual arts, music, theatre and dance span the state and truly emphasize the diverse talent that is being cultivated here,” Hopkins-Smith said.

Local honorees include:

  • Paramus High School senior Manami Saito, who was nominated by Dance NJ to receive an award for excellence and leadership in dance. Saito is a member of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and the Spartanettes Dance Company. She’s also been participating in the school’s dance program for the last four years.
  • Bergen County Academies senior Charis Shin, who was nominated by the New Jersey Council of Teachers of English to receive an award in short story writing. Shin is a member of the Academy for Business and Finance and is working towards receiving her International Baccalaureate Diploma. Throughout high school, she participated in DECA, a business competition club, as well as her school’s creative writing club. The teen also enjoys volunteering at a therapeutic horseback riding farm and hopes to run her own non-profit organization one day.
  • Bergen County Academies sophomore Lindsey Polevoy, who was nominated by the Writers Theatre of New Jersey for a young playwrights award. Polevoy is a student in the Academy for Culinary Arts and Hospitality Administration who has been in love with the world of theatre from a young age. When she is not writing, she competes on Bergen Tech’s Track & Field team, sings in the concert choir or competing in SkillsUSA.

Winners will receive their awards on May 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the Patriot’s Theatre at the War Memorial in Trenton. The afternoon will include guest speakers, a visual arts exhibit and performances from nominated students.

This year’s awards are being sponsored by the Jay & Linda Grunin Foundation, Appel Farms Arts & Music Center, and Young Audiences New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a founding agency of Arts Ed NJ.

“Young Audiences is grateful to Arts Ed NJ for recognizing and honoring outstanding young artists and educators with New Jersey Governor’s Awards in Arts Education,” said Michele Russo, YA’s President & CEO. “The Governor’s Awards provide a venue for Young Audiences to honor master teaching artists, and both individual and corporate leaders for their distinguished service to provide equal access to the arts for all students.”

The event in Trenton is free and open to the public, however registration online at is required.