BSM senior nominated for Minnesota’s Heart of the Arts award
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The Heart of the Arts is an award given out to an individual who demonstrates and exemplifies the ideals of the mission of education-based athletics and arts, and the Minnesotan nominee for this prestigious award is BSM senior Josie Ross. The national winner will be announced later in the spring.
The National High School Heart of the Arts Award is given to any student, teacher, or group at a school that is associated with the performing arts program. This award recognizes certain individuals who exceed expectations in areas such as sportsmanship and persevere in the face of challenging circumstances. Student nominees also need to be in a good academic standing within their school as well. “Just being nominated as the only person in the state is a big award because, if you look at people from the past, it’s a lot of faculty members, and if a student is chosen it’s cool,” Ross said.
Ross has been participating in the arts ever since she was a little girl. Whether she was in the spotlight or working on tech, Ross found that theater was truly her passion. As she grew up, Ross realized that she could live out her fascination for theater through other activities as well. “Once I started to get to the junior high and high school setting, I understood that there were more applications for theater outside the stage itself and the traditional theater space,” Ross said.
Because of her experiences in debate and speech, Ross started programs and volunteered for BSM. In her first year of speech, Josie was the only seventh grader and felt the stress and difficulties that it brought. She wanted to make that experience better for other junior high students and underclassmen, thus starting the Mentor Program. She also works as the Volunteer Teaching Assistant for the BSM junior high choir.
Ross has not only made programs for school but also ones for other places she is involved in as well. She created the Chuck Olson Memorial Fund at Chaska Valley Family Theatre so that the those who are deaf or have hearing disabilities can watch plays and musicals with American Sign Language interpreters. Ross also directed a 100 person production of Shrek at the same theater, fundraised $6,000 for students to watch the performance, and invited a 12-year-old boy who enacted a Minnesota Bill against bullying to come and talk to the kids.
Ross won the MSHSL ExCEL Award last year, and the woman who arranged that award remembered Josie’s application and submitted it for the nominations for the Heart of the Arts award. Ross had no knowledge of being nominated until she was congratulated for being the nominee of Minnesota. “There was a lot of preparation and a lot of anticipation to see if I got the award [last year]. It was more of a whirlwind this year,” Ross said.
Ross is truly honored to represent the state of Minnesota. Doing theater is a significant part of her life and she hopes to continue it in throughout college. “No matter what I do, I will always just use a lot of the core values I learned from the arts throughout the rest of my life,” Ross said.