WILLSBORO — Derrick Hopkins and Jennifer Moore have been putting their hearts into their jobs at Willsboro Central School for years.
Now, a National Federation of State High School Associations award makes it official.
Hopkins, head of the theater department, and Moore, who runs the music program, have been selected as the 2014 Section 1 recipients of the National High School Heart of the Arts Award.
“They are worthy of this award,” said Willsboro Superintendent Stephen Broadwell, pointing to their “hard work and dedication.
“They work so well together. Our students benefit from their expertise, and the arts teaches so many life lessons.”
The Heart of the Arts Award was created to recognize individuals “who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities,” according to the NFHS website. Nominations for the award were generated through member state associations and reviewed by the Heart of the Arts Award Selection Committee.
Section 1 comprises New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.
Hopkins has spent 13 years as an elementary teacher at Willsboro and is currently an English Language Arts Coach with six local districts, assisting teachers in implementing the Common Core standards.
Although working in a different district daily, he maintains the theater program he created, working countless hours beyond the traditional work day.
“He just doesn’t just sit there,” said ninth-grader Matt Longware, who started acting in pre-k and is now in his 13th production. “He actively helps us go through everything that’s going on. He shows what he needs us to do, and that helps us feel what is expected.”
“It’s just an honor and wonderful validation,” Hopkins said. “You go into the profession to work with children and work with a school, not to receive accolades or an honor like this.”