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Rockridge’s Gabe Stanforth Named Section Winner of NFHS Heart of the Arts Award

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The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) recently announced one National winner and eight Section winners for the 2016 NFHS Heart of the Arts Award.

The Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) nominee, Rockridge senior student Gabe Stanforth (right with IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson), was named the Section 4 winner. Section 4 includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. The award is in its third year of existence, and Gabe is the second Section winner from Illinois, following St. Rita's Ethan Gray who won the Section and National award in 2015 (click here for past nominees).

Gabe was chosen as the IHSA’s nominee for his determination in excelling in all aspects of his high school experience despite being legally blind. Ranked in the Top 3 in his class, Gabe is actively involved in the community and found a way to combine his passion of music and Boy Scouts, as he earned his Eagle Scout badge by building mobile instrument cubbies for the high school. In addition to being a two-sport athlete, he is a four-year member of the high school’s Concert Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band, and Marching Band. His efforts in the music program helped Rockridge win an IHSA State Championship in 2015.

“I don’t know what else to say except that Gabe is truly a special young man,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “He hasn’t let the adversity in his life slow him down one iota. He lives and participates to the fullest, and the IHSA is proud to be associated with him and the example that he sets for his fellow classmates. ”

Gabe was honored by the IHSA on Friday, March 11, 2016 at the Peoria Civic Center’s Carver Arena during halftime of an IHSA Class 2A Boys Basketball semifinal contest.

For more on Gabe’s story, click here.
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