Six Woodward High School students were honored recently and recognized as 2006 recipients of the State Superintendent Awards in Arts Excellence.

Four students were honored in the visual arts division - Wayne Billings, Stephanie Hollis, Tiffany McAnarney and Mitzi Merry; and two were honored in the vocal music division - Laura Matthews and Chelsea Warnick. Roxy Merklin is the art teacher at WHS and Linda Kessinger is the vocal instructor.

“We are very proud of them,” said Merklin. “This is the largest number we’ve had in several years. We nominate students each year and have recipients.”

Visual Arts selection is based on recognition of outstanding artistic ability, academic excellence, school involvement and community service. Vocal Music selection is based on recognition in state vocal music competitions, academic excellence, school involvement and community service.

Only 25 students from across the state were honored in Visual Arts and only 20 were honored in Vocal Music.

The medals are presented by the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education, State Superintendent Sandy Garrett and the Oklahoma Masonic Fraternity. The medals were presented during a reception held in Oklahoma City at the Masonic Temple in Guthrie recently. Awards are given in the areas of dance, theater, music and the visual arts, as well as in the areas of Outstanding Board of Education, Superintendent and Principal.

This was the 16th annual State Superintendent Awards in Arts Excellence which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education, a state affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and are underwritten by the Oklahoma Masonic Fraternity.

“It is inspiring and gratifying to pay homage to accomplished young artists who have been nurtured in our various school systems,” said Garrett.

School leaders honored during the event were: Outstanding Board of Education - Putnam City Board of Education; Outstanding Superintendent - Dr. Mary Jane Bias, Bixby Public Schools; Outstanding Principal - Nancy Taylor, Wilburton High School, Patricia Hocker, Windsor Hills Elementary School in Putnam City, Dr. Loretta Autry, Briarwood Elementary School in Moore.

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