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West Valley City Journal

Pioneer Elementary students celebrated for winning Reflections contest

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Jennifer Gardiner

Eleven of the 16 Award of Excellence winners. (Photo/Megan Bishop)

After 10 years of not having the Reflections program, students from Pioneer Elementary in West Valley City finally got their chance to participate and nearly 100 kids submitted entries. 

The school had not had the program due to the amount of work involved and not enough parent volunteers to run it. But when the school got a new principal last year, Doug Johnson, he asked about bringing back Reflections. PTA President Megan Bishop said they found a mom willing to be the Reflections chair, and it went from there.

That mom, Becky Wise, said she knew of the Reflections program because she participated in it when she was in elementary school. 

“Growing up, art was one of my favorite subjects in school,” Wise said. “I worked with a small committee of PTA members to encourage participation, organize judging, and celebrate the winners from our school. It was a lot of work, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of Jaycee Limutau, Desirae Olsen, Megan Bishop, and other members of the PTA.”

The theme for this year’s Reflections was “Within Reach.”

 PTA Reflections is a national art recognition program that celebrates creative expression through the arts. It is a PTA-run program in which elementary, middle and high schools can choose to participate. There is also a division for special artists, so that students with special needs can participate. 

The six arts categories in Reflections are: Film Production, Literature, Photography, Dance Choreography, Music Composition and Visual Arts (including both 2D art and 3D art). 

 Each Reflections entry is judged based on three categories: Interpretation of the theme, creativity, and technique. In Reflections, students are asked to “reflect” on the chosen theme and come up with their own unique interpretation. Along with their artwork, each student writes an artist statement, which describes how their art relates to the theme. 

 Wise said each entry had a unique interpretation of the theme and they received some great artist statements. There are three different awards given in Reflections at each level. 

“The highest award is the Award of Excellence. Entries that receive this award will move on to the next level of judging,” said Wise. “At our school, we had 16 Award of Excellence winners. Each student was given a special medallion during our Reflections celebration.”

Winning entries were submitted to the Granger PTA Council, where they will be judged along with entries from other elementary schools in the area. Entries can advance up to the national level where they have the chance to win an all-expense paid trip to showcase their work on stage at the National PTA Awards Celebration and win an $800 scholarship. 

Wise said they are already looking forward to participating again in Reflections next year and are grateful to students who submitted artwork. They hope to have even more students participate next year.


 The Award of Excellence winners honored in the celebration held at the school on October 24 were:

 Miguel Murillo, 11, Film Production “The Soccer Bros” created a film about his love of soccer.

 Delores Faleaana, 7, Literature “A Girl and a Whale” wrote a story about a girl and a whale.

 Denisse Torres, 11, Literature “Within Reach the Stars” wrote a story about a girl who becomes friends with two aliens, who decide to come and visit her.

 Carlos Quijano, 7, Photography “Reaching for the Clouds” took a picture of a hand reaching for a cloud.

 Maesa Sorenson, 11, Photography “Beauty in Nature” took a picture of a sunset.

 Peyton Swapp, 5, Visual Arts 2D “My Reach for Space” drew a picture of a hand reaching for space.

 Ailina Limutau, 5, Visual Arts 2D  “Rainbows...Almost Within Reach” drew a picture of a rainbow.

 Scott Leavitt, 8, Visual Arts 2D “The Savannah” drew a picture of a giraffe reaching for the top of a tree.

 Brayden Bishop, 8, Visual Arts 2D “Goal!” drew a picture of him reaching his goal to become a soccer star.

 Sabrina Wilkey, 11, Visual Arts 2D  “Reaching Bear” drew a picture of a bear reaching to catch a fish.

 Sheyla Martinez, 11, Visual Arts 2D  “Reach for the Stars” drew a picture of girl holding a crystal ball covered in stars.

 Dania Diaz, 8, Visual Arts 2D (special artist) made a painting, spots of different colors.

 Elaine Jetnil, 7, Visual Arts 3D “The feel of beautiful music” drew a picture of a girl listening to beautiful music.

 Darla Brown, 8, Visual Arts 3D “I Love Flowers” drew a picture of a girl and a flower.

 Biancy Torres, 9, Visual Arts 3D “Education is Important” created a 3D school house using cardboard.

 Katie Marin, 11, Visual Arts 3D “Reach for Everything” used modeling clay to create a girl reaching for an apple on a tree.