Canby Cougar Dancer Wins ‘Heart of the Arts’ Award

Emma Lawless, a Canby High School student and member of the five time state championship Canby Cougar Dance Team, has been named a 2019 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS).

The 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.

In addition to being on the dance team, Emma is also part of the yearbook staff; she sings in the school choir and she is a member of the campus SAFE Club.

Making her accomplishments even more impressive is the fact that she was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, a birth defect that affects the growth of limbs. As a result, Emma was born with only half of her right arm.

While Lawless looks different than other students, she has never let this birth defect hold her back. As a child, she played soccer and lacrosse, and she took dance and gymnastics classes.

During the past two years, Emma has flourished on the dance team. While it requires a lot of “floor work,” she has never said “I can’t do that” or “That won’t work.” Rather, she has mastered the skill of adapting and finding a way to get it done no matter what. She never wants the choreographer or the coaches to change what they are creating because of her arm.

Congratulations, Emma! You make #CanbyProud.

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