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California student selected as recipient of National High School Heart of the Arts award

Tristan McMichael, a student at Quincy High School, is the Section 7 Recipient of NFHS National High School Heart of the Arts Award. Photo submitted

Tristan McMichael, a student at Quincy High School, has been selected as the 2019 Section 7 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

The award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the sixth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered.

McMichael, who is very active in sports, clubs and band at Quincy High School, recently completed his second season in soccer and will soon be starting his second season on the tennis team. He is the secretary/treasurer of the QHS chapter of the California Scholarship Federation, and he recently organized and completed a Stockings for Preschoolers drive for six area preschools.

Since elementary school, McMichael has been active in trying to rebuild the band program for Quincy’s public schools. The elementary school and the high school have traditionally shared a single, three-quarters-time music teacher, with band being treated as an optional extracurricular activity for those who could afford to rent an instrument.

After McMichael highlighted those issues through his fundraising efforts and impassioned plea to the local school board, the Plumas Unified School District changed the music position to a full-time position. In addition, it purchased musical instruments and made band a mandatory class for fifth-graders. The elementary school also implemented a K-6 music program in which every student has weekly access to music education.

Among McMichael’s other accomplishments, he raised funds for the repair and purchasing of instruments for students to use over the course of three years; worked with the music director to form three small ensembles with more advanced students and created a saxophone quartet with junior high school students.

About the award

The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 7 are California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.

While the national winner will be recognized June 29 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.

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