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FHSAA Announces Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award Winner

by Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA)

GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 2, 2021 – At the beginning of February, the Florida High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday the winners of the third annual Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award and Roger Dearing Spirit of Sport Award. Evan Thurber (North Port High School) took home the Heart of the Arts distinction, with Kayleb Wagner (Baker High School) earning the Spirit of Sport honor. Both nominees exemplified quality sportsmanship, surpassed standard expectations, and have excelled through various adversities, Thurber and Wagner will both receive a $1,500 scholarship in their names on behalf of the FHSAA. Please click here to view the full news release.


Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award
Evan Thurber, North Port High School – Thurber is an honor student with a passion for music. Over the years, he has earned the position of drum captain for the drumline of North Port’s Indoor Marching Scholastic group. Shortly after Thurber began his musical career, he suffered the loss of his stepfather. Unsure of how to process the pain, Thurber learned to use music as a coping mechanism. Since then, he has performed with Infinity II, a percussion Independent Open group for the Winter Guard International and the Florida Federation Color Guard Circuit as the youngest member of the program. He has also been invited to perform in the New Year’s Day parade in Rome, Italy with the Alliance Marching Band and to an intimate experience of learning one-on-one and performing with select members of the Zac Brown Band. Recently, Thurber was selected to be one of the 2021 Florida Federation Color Guard Circuit featured performers of the year. He spends time, too, as an afterschool counselor at the local YMCA and performs in his church’s Sunday services as well as their Celebrate Recovery program, which serves active and recovering addicts. He aims to share his talents with others so they may find the joy in music as he has. Thurber exudes heart as he uses his music for the betterment of society.


About the Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award
The FHSAA has developed the “
Roger Dearing Heart of the Art Awards,” to honor individual(s) who embody “Heart of the Arts.” The award covers an excess of performing arts disciplines and seeks to recognize those individuals who illustrate a positive heart of the arts and represent the core mission of education-based activities. The award may be given in recognition of specific act or for an activity of longer duration. The winner of the Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award will be submitted to the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations (NFHS) as the FHSAA’s nomination for the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award.


About the FHSAA
Florida High School Athletic Association supervises and regulates interscholastic athletic programs for high school students at member public, private and charter schools. The organization also recognizes and honors academic achievement among student-athletes at almost 800 middle, junior and senior high schools statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, it is the official governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida.