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Mt. Zion graduate earns prestigious award through dance
by Bill Baldowski
bbaldowski@neighbornewspapers.com.
August 29, 2012 07:49 PM | 2223 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mt. Zion High School 2012 graduate Michael Morris, Jr., has been honored with a Discus Award, a national recognition honoring the most well-rounded high school students in the country.
Mt. Zion High School 2012 graduate Michael Morris, Jr., has been honored with a Discus Award, a national recognition honoring the most well-rounded high school students in the country.
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Michael Morris, Jr. not only “danced” his way into receiving a prestigious national high school award, but is the only recent Clayton County high school graduate to be honored.

The 18-year-old son of Forest Park Parks and Recreation Athletic Director Michael Morris, Sr. and a 2012 graduate of Mt. Zion High School won a 2011-12 Discus Award, a non-monetary national recognition honoring the most well-rounded high school students across the country.

Working with Mt. Zion dance teacher Jacquana Johnson, Morris is recognized throughout Clayton as an up-and-coming dancer who specializes in all forms of dance, from modern and jazz to ballet.

He has performed for six seasons in the Atlanta Ballet’s annual holiday classic, “The Nutcracker” held at the Fox Theatre, and is among the first dancers the Atlanta Ballet contacts when the company needs additional performers.

To further his dance career, Morris will move to Boston this month to attend the Boston Conservancy as a dance major.

“It was astonishing to receive this Discus Award and I am honored they have selected me,” Morris said.

In a written statement notifying Morris of the award, officials with Campus Direct and Recognition Media, which created the Discus Awards in 2009, said they would now submit his name to a panel of judges for consideration to win one of 12 National All Around Student Scholarships, which carries a $2,000 merit-based college scholarship with it.

Campus Direct and Recognition Media officials said Morris was recognized with the award for his achievements in the areas of arts, academics and community service.

Morris hopes to become a professional dancer because in performing arts — especially dance — there are no rules or regulations.

“It is a flow of coordinated movements you feel and create at the time you are performing,” he said.

“In dance, you are communicating with the audience through body movement and positioning,” Morris added.

In addition to the Atlanta Ballet, Morris has appeared in numerous dance competitions along the east coast with the group Dance Makers, Inc., where he competed in solo and group dance routines.

“One of my most recent presentations in which I was honored to participate was the Afro-Academic Cultural Technological and Scientific Olympics, a major youth initiative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,” Morris said.

Although a career as a professional dancer is his next objective, Morris said his ultimate goal is to become the artistic director for the New York Ballet.

“To me,” he said, “dancing professionally is where it’s at.
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