Uxbridge Teacher Up For A National Award

UXBRIDGE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A music teacher and drama co-director at Uxbridge High School has earned the Massachusetts Hearts of the Arts Award, and now she's going for the national prize.

Kathleen Penza was awarded the Heart of the Arts Award for her supervisor and director role in six different ensembles; concert band, pep band, symphonic band, concert choir, jazz band, and Spartones a capella.

According to Milford Daily News, Penza is also the founder of the Blackstone Valley Community Concert Band, where she served as director from 2002 to 2015. She was named the state's Unsung Heroine in 2010, and Uxbridge High School's Educator of the Year in 2017.

Male And Female Students Singing In Choir With Teacher At Performing Arts School

(Getty Images)

Uxbridge Superintendent of Schools, Frank Tiano, said it was an "incredible honor" to have a local teacher win the state award. "Our district could not be prouder of the work that Mrs. Penza does for our students and community," he said.

The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was developed by the National Federation of High Schools, as a way to honor individuals from schools that are members of an NFHS athletic or activity association. After winning the state level award, Penza will now be one of 51 nominees for the national award.

Over the past five years, Penza has led Uxbridge High School's band to gold and silver medals at national competitions and regional music festivals. She has also worked collaboratively with music programs at the College of the Holy Cross, Berklee College of Music, and Brooklyn College.

“There are literally thousands of students, educators, and community patrons across the Commonwealth who dedicate their life to the fine and performing arts,” Tiano said. “When we think of the core values we hope to see in all our staff and students, Mrs. Penza models perseverance, grit, creativity, and responsibility, and she encourages students to participate in so many ways - adjusting, adapting to the needs, mentoring, and shepherding musicians and educators of the future. She truly is the heart of an arts-focused community, and we are so very proud of her.”

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