Lakia Manska, a 2022 graduate of Morris Area High School, has been selected by the Minnesota State High School League as this year’s recipient of the Heart of the Arts award.
The Heart of the Arts award was created by the National Federation of State High School Associations to recognize individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts and represent the core mission of education-based activities.
In high school, Lakia was a multi-sport athlete, dancer and a three-time qualifier for the MSHSL state speech tournament. Her greatest impact, however, came when she wrote an essay from the heart in response to an ugly incident during the boys state basketball tournament. After Minneapolis North defeated Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta in the state semifinals, a student from Chokio-Alberta sent a vile, racist social media message to one of the North players.
Lakia’s essay was important, as were all the positive messages she received afterwards. Her guest column was originally published in the Stevens County Times on April 5, 2022. John Millea of the Minnesota State High School League published “Speaking Out, Sparking Conversations” on mshsl.org on April 17, 2022.