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FHSAA Announces the 2019-20 Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts and Spirit of Sport Award Winners

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida High School Athletic Association announced Thursday the winners of the second annual Roger Dearing Heart of the Awards Award and Roger Dearing Spirit of Sport Award. Joshua Koolik (Pine Crest School) took home the Heart of the Arts honor, with Courtney Holmes (Christopher Columbus Boys Catholic High School) earning the Spirit of Sport accolade.

Both nominees exemplified quality sportsmanship, surpassed standard expectations, and have excelled through various adversities. Koolik and Holmes will both receive a $1,500 scholarship in their names on behalf of the FHSAA.  

Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award

Joshua Koolik, Pine Crest School – Koolik is a scholar student. He is in the Beta Club, multiple honor societies and an AP scholar. Outside of the classroom Koolik is a cross country/track & field athlete, in the upper school orchestra where he plays the violin, and is involved in the visual arts which consists of drawing, painting, sculpture and design.  His work has been displayed in art exhibitions and has received national attention for placing first at the National Competition for Fashion Design and Technology. Koolik uses his gifted art skills when giving back to his community. He teaches visual arts and self-expression at the Youth Activity Center in Boca Raton. He also started a project with the children at the center, where they renovated an old pavilion at a public housing facility for the elderly. Using the children’s art, hard work and volunteered supplies they turned the rundown pavilion into a newly brightened pavilion where residents of the facility can come see the art and uplift their spirits. Koolik is the perfect example of someone who uses their gifts for the greater good of society.

Roger Dearing Spirit of Sport Award

Courtney Holmes, Christopher Columbus Boys Catholic High School – Holmes is a two-time track & field State Champion in the 4x400 meter and a member of the 2019 8A Football State Championship team at Columbus. When he’s not on the track or field, he’s giving back to his community. He has participated in Super Kids- Super Sharing, where he helped collect school supplies and sports equipment to help underprivileged children in the greater Miami area. Holmes is also a volunteer football coach for the youth football league and an active member of 5000 Role Models where he is mentored and mentors “at-risk” youth through guidance and educational assistance. His success has not come easy though, he has faced and overcome unimaginable trials and tribulations. At a young age, his father left his family, and his mother was killed in a hit and run. This led him to living with his aunt and cousins, who a year later, he came home and found murdered. Along with those tragedies, he faced major setbacks. During his sophomore year, he tore his ACL and had reconstructive knee surgery. After overcoming that injury, he was shot during the summer of his senior year. While Holmes was fighting for his life, all that was on his mind was making it back in time to support his team in the upcoming football season. He prevailed through it all and returned in time for football season. Holmes is the definition of a fighter and someone whose positive spirit for life despite his experiences shines bright.

About the Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award

The FHSAA has developed the “Roger Dearing Heart of the Art Awards,” to honor individual(s) who embody “Heart of the Arts.” The award covers an excess of performing arts disciplines and seeks to recognize those individuals who illustrate a positive heart of the arts and represent the core mission of education-based activities. The award may be given in recognition of specific act or for an activity of longer duration. The winner of the Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award will be submitted to the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations (NFHS) as the FHSAA’s nomination for the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award.

About the Roger Dearing Spirit of Sport Award

The FHSAA has developed the “Roger Dearing Spirit of Sport Awards,” to seek those individual(s) who showcase the ideals of the positive spirit of sport and represent the core mission of education-based athletics. The individual or group should demonstrate exemplary sportsmanship, exceed normal expectations, and has overcome adversity or a challenging circumstance. The award may be given in recognition of specific act or for an activity of longer duration. . The winner of the Roger Dearing Heart of the Arts Award will be submitted to the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations (NFHS) as the FHSAA’s nomination for the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award.

About the FHSAA

The Florida High School Athletic Association supervises and regulates interscholastic athletic programs for high school students at member public, private and charter schools. The organization also recognizes and honors academic achievement among student-athletes at almost 800 middle, junior and senior high schools statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, it is the official governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida.