By: Sharon Aron Baron
High school senior Connor Yockus has just been named one of the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. The award, presented on behalf of the President of the United States, is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an artistically talented graduating high school senior.
Connor, a high school senior at North Broward Preparatory School found out he had been named in an unlikely place: the middle of Starbucks during the afternoon rush.
“I was studying at Starbucks and I heard they posted the winners online, and I’m refreshing my screen when my name came up. I was so excited.”
Connor is part of the 50th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars which was announced by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. They will showcase his accomplishments in dance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and at The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, on June 23 and 24.
“Connor is a remarkably talented young man that we are proud to say is from Coral Springs,” said City Commissioner Dan Daley. “His dedication to the arts and dancing clearly makes him a success story that we’ll talk about for years.”
Connor is the son of Kristin and Sean Yockus and has a twin sister named Caitlin. The family has been living in Coral Creek in Coral Springs for over 17 years.
“I chose North Broward Preparatory School because it had the perfect combination of arts and academics,” said Connor, who is interested in foreign language, linguistics, and biology.
After school, Connor practices tap, jazz, ballet, modern, contemporary or hip hop dancing at least 15-20 hours a week at Real Dance in Lighthouse Point.
After being accepted to several universities including Yale and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Connor chose Columbia University in New York where he felt was the best fit for him.
Will he be tempted to audition for the many Broadway plays in New York while attending Columbia?
“I would definitely love to audition for plays after college,” he said. “I will be tempted, but it will be tough with the college regimen. Plus, I want to have the experience under my belt and it [auditioning] would throw everything off balance.”
The future is just beginning for this Presidential Scholar who says he wants to be a choreographer, or use dance for philanthropic purposes, social change, or to just give back to the community.
“I want dance to be a part of my life forever.”