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Austin Althouse Awarded with KSHSAA "Heart of the Arts" Award

Posted on February 8, 2018 at 6:35 PM

Austin Althouse a student from Douglass High School is being honored with the 2017 KSHSAA Heart of the Arts Award, which recognizes the values of participants in high school arts programs that go above and beyond the norm. KSHSAA Executive Director Gary Musselman invited all member high schools of the Association to submit the name of a student(s), teacher(s), or group(s) demonstrating such qualities. Austin Althouse was selected from five outstanding nominations submitted by KSHSAA member senior high schools. Austin Althouse is a student from Douglass High School who has a diagnosis of Autism, has turned a strength and interest of electronics and working with sounds systems into a skill that has served Douglass High School the community well right now, and will benefit Austin in the future. “He started bringing his computer to baseball games and practices to play music and it has blossomed from there to include all of the performances in the auditorium,” explains Jason Menard, Douglass High School Assistant Principal/Activities Director. “It started as an administrator to student relationship that is now almost a business relationship, where we are partners in many of the things we are doing. He has even put up proposals for us to upgrade our sound systems all over the district.” The KSHSAA Student Advisory Team participates in the selection of the state of Kansas honoree. “The unique way Kansas selects their State winners is without parallel. No other state association utilizes students as their selection committee,” said Executive Director, Gary Musselman. John Gills, NFHS Associate Director wrote to the KSHSAA Student Advisory Team, saying, “Thank you for the outstanding work you do to generate Kansas nominations for these NFHS Awards. You play a very important role in recognizing these very deserving individuals at the state and national levels.” As the state honoree, Althouse will receive a plaque to be displayed at his school. The presentation of the plaque will take place at a KSHSAA tournament or local event that is yet to be determined. Douglass High School’s winning nomination of Austin Althouse has been submitted for consideration by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). This is the fourth year the National Federation has presented the NFHS Heart of the Arts award. The NFHS will announce a national honoree at its annual summer meeting in early July. Kansas was the first state high school association in the nation to develop a state Heart of the Arts Award for the express purpose of recognizing outstanding acts of character, leadership and demonstrating the true heart of arts in educational performing arts programs,” said Executive Director, Gary Musselman. “We believe it is important to focus attention on the many positive acts which occur in our programs every year. Without question, every Kansas high school has students and faculty who demonstrate the true heart of the performing arts on a daily basis. Bringing recognition to Austin Althouse from Douglass High School is in keeping with the mission of the KSHSAA.”

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