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Texas Marching Band Selected as Section 6 Recipient of NFHS National High School Heart of the Arts Award

Media Contact: Chris Schmidt
Phone: 512-471-5883
Fax: 512-471-6589

Date: Mar 14, 2017
Category: General Information Music


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 14, 2017) — The Premont Mighty Cowboy Band and Mariachi Estrella of Premont (Texas) High School have been selected the 2017 Section 6 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the fourth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered. Premont High School was nominated for the award by the University Interscholastic League (UIL).

In 2012, Premont High School faced closure by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) after years of financial disarray and lagging academic standards. That year, the school made the bold decision to cut athletics to focus their finances on rebuilding the academic standards required by the state.

In the years that followed, the school lost students to transfers and received a second closure notice from the TEA. Located in rural South Texas, there are just 500 students in the entire school district, with 62 percent considered at risk of dropping out, and 82 percent considered economically disadvantaged.

Through this turmoil, the school district was able to retain its music program, and under the leadership of Music Director Ernesto Cortez, the students who stayed in Premont have enjoyed great success.

During the past three years, the music program has earned multiple gold medals in UIL solo and ensemble band and mariachi, and advanced to the first-ever UIL Mariachi State Festival last year.

The music program at Premont is a source of great pride for this small community, and its Mariachi program is considered to be one of the best in the state. In addition, Premont High School is now meeting the academic standards set by the state of Texas. Much of that is directly due to the students who worked hard to excel at music and in the classroom.


About the Award

The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 6 are Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.

While the national winner will be recognized June 29 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.



About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.8 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; produces publications for high school coaches, officials and athletic directors; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, spirit coaches, speech and debate coaches and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at


MEDIA CONTACT:                        John Gillis, 317-972-6900

                                                             National Federation of State High School Associations

                                                             PO Box 690, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206


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