Washburn Rural High School (WRHS) in Topeka, Kansas, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the National Performing Arts School of Excellence Award by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
The award was presented to Ed Raines, Washburn Rural principal, and the school’s performing arts staff members at the school on September 28 by Dr. James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports.
The presentation was made to kick off the NFHS’ celebration of National High School Activities Month in October and National Performing Arts Activities Week (October 7-13).
Washburn Rural, a Class 6A high school in Kansas, has one of the top performing arts programs in the state. In speech, WRHS has finished second in the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) state speech competition the past two years and first the past two years in the four-speaker state debate tournament. In music competition, WRHS has registered Superior 1 ratings in choir and orchestra for five consecutive years, and four of the past five years in band.
“Being named the NFHS Performing Arts School of Excellence is a great accomplishment for the school, staff and the students,” said Penny Lane, athletic/activities director at Washburn Rural High School. “This award recognizes all that our students put into the program, and all of the coaching that our teachers do to help to support the kids and help them develop and grow in the performing arts.
“The work of our fine arts participants is not always publicly recognized. This award brings great recognition to the fine arts, which is such an important part of education. This recognition really exemplifies the support that our local school board does for our performing arts and fine arts programs. It also recognizes the support that parents give to their students to be involved with these programs. Washburn Rural is very honored to receive this award.”
The award is presented to one high school every fall as a part of National Performing Arts Activities Week and National High School Activities Month, which is celebrated to remind students, parents, coaches, officials and others in communities across the country about the values and benefits of high school activity programs.
“This award is a way to recognize the great fine arts programs around the country,” Weaver said. “The award can excite programs to grow, and we can continue to highlight the importance of performing arts within high schools.”
As a result of one of its schools being recognized with this national award, the KSHSAA has decided to honor a school for its performing arts programs on an annual basis, according to Craig Manteuffel, assistant executive director of the Kansas state association.
“We have outstanding performing arts schools in the state of Kansas, and being recognized nationally is a wonderful testimony to our schools’ professionalism and efforts with students,” Manteuffel said. “The KSHSAA has decided to make this an annual state award as we continue to celebrate our tremendous performing arts programs in our schools.”