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Virginia Student Named Section 2 Recipient of Heart of the Arts Award

By NFHS on April 07, 2016 blog Print

Marisa DeFranco, a senior at Arlington (Virginia) Wakefield High School, has been selected the 2016 Section 2 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

The National High School Heart of the Arts 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 third year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered.

With strong academics, great co-curricular activities involvement, and an extensive visual media arts background, DeFranco has distinguished herself in a myriad of ways.

A three-year member of the National Honor Society with a 4.0 grade-point average, DeFranco is a four-year starter on the varsity softball team, where last year she was named Most Valuable Player and earned all-conference honors. A former member of the swimming and diving team, she also has been manager of the boys basketball team.

In addition, she has been the boys basketball photographer and videographer for three years, and a two-time winner of the Scholastic Art Award. Among other awards, she was named Arlington County Manager Photography winner, was a three-time Photography Student of the Year, and won the Videographer Arlington Educational Television Service Award.


Many of DeFranco’s videos were used to promote various athletic events and teams. She also created, directed and produced a music video for Wakefield High School’s Best Buddies. In another video, DeFranco filmed Wakefield’s diverse student body as it promoted the Upstanders Club while sharing the message of tolerance and acceptance.


About the Award

The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 2 are Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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 Reno, Nevada, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.