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Cardiff’s Gracie Howard earns ‘Junior Artist of the Year’ honor

Gracie Howard in her role as Matilda in “Matilda”
Gracie Howard in her role as Matilda in “Matilda”
(Vanessa Olson)

Cardiff resident Gracie Howard, 13, was recently named 2019-2020 Junior Artist of the Year in the 15th National Youth Arts Awards competition.

Gracie, an 8th grade student at The Rhoades Middle School in Encinitas, has been involved in the performing arts since age 4, including dance, acting, singing, television, film and print.

Gracie won the NYA Junior Artist of the Year award for her performances as Matilda in “Matilda,” Flounder in “The Little Mermaid” and for the national video reel submission of “Killer Instinct” from Bring it On.

Gracie Howard
Gracie Howard
(Shandon Photography)

In response to her NYA award, Gracie said, “When my mom told me that I won this award, I think my face froze for a minute! It’s the surprises in life that make it interesting! This was a big one for me and I am very thankful. I also really want to thank Mr. Rob Hopper and all of the judges who take the time to come see our shows. This is a real honor. I also want to thank the many mentors that I have had all these years. They are very important to me. Last, but not least, I want to congratulate all of the other people who won awards. It’s always better to share these things with friends and others who also have a love for the arts.”

Some of Gracie’s other favorite roles have been Molly (Annie), Little Cosette (Les Miserables), Young Fiona (Shrek The Musical), Tiny Tim (A Christmas Carol), Annie (Annie), Lucille (Junie B Jones), Alice (Matilda) and Mrs. Wormwood (Matilda).

Garcie Howard in her role as Flounder in “The Little Mermaid”
Garcie Howard in her role as Flounder in “The Little Mermaid”
(Vanessa Olson)

Gracie’s mother, Melissa Howard, says Gracie “never stops singing — in the car, in the kitchen, doing homework—I think it’s part of her DNA!” Playing the piano and ukulele is another one of Gracie’s many talents.

Gracie has always loved cooking and baking as well. She was a top contestant on FOX network’s Master Chef Junior for two consecutive seasons when she was 8 and 9 years old.

Helping others is also a passion for Gracie. She started her own nonprofit bake sale operation called “A Little Bite of Heaven” at age 8 and has continued to donate her time and baked goods by participating in a variety of nonprofit events throughout San Diego County ever since. One of her favorite events was a fundraiser for Angels Foster Family Network in which Gracie sold $600 worth of baked goods at her bake sale stand, donated it all back during the event and then requested the microphone from the MC during the raise-the-paddle auction where she challenged the audience of 300 attendees to match her donation. She raised over $15,000 and then a gentleman matched that to bring her original donation to $30,000. Gracie’s family has fostered children in the past so she knows how much those donations can help make a difference in children’s lives.

In addition, Gracie, who plays on a girls club volleyball team, loves to travel and she has been to India and Africa on mission trips. One of her favorite times in India was at an orphanage with 12 girls. She spent two weeks with them and singing was one of their favorite things to do together.

Gracie is currently in “The Girl Rising Club” at her school and she hopes to start a Pen Pal Club with a group of girls in Bangladesh that the club sponsors.

Other honors Gracie has earned include 1st place in the 2020 Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair in the psychological sciences category with a project titled “Who Follows The Rules.” She also won the 2020 Director’s Choice Award from San Diego’s Write Out Loud (RIC) Read, Imagine Create competition in which she created a cookbook with her own illustrations and recipes and tied the theme of the recipes into the organization’s assigned book of poetry for that competition.

For more information on the NYA Awards, visit bit.ly/2MwaPvv


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