Each year the National PTA sponsors the Reflections program, providing students the opportunity to express themselves through a variety of artistic expressions. This program, the PTA feels, “boosts student confidence and success in the arts and in life.”
More than 300,000 students in pre-K through the 12th grade create original works of art in response to a student-selected theme. This program, which has been offered for more than 50 years, helps them explore their own thoughts, feelings and ideas, develop artistic literacy, increase confidence and find a love for learning that will help them become more successful in school and in life.
The theme for the 2020-2021 program year is I Matter Because….
Seventeen students at Rim of the World High School participated in two categories: photography and visual arts. George Whitty once again chaired the Rim Reflections program. The judges – Kelly Bustany, Mary-Justine Lanyon, Dawn Neuenschwander and Sharon McCormick – had the difficult task of choosing the first, second and third-place winners in each category.
First place was awarded to Lauren Navarro: “I matter because I am different. In my photo, everyone is wearing black except one person, making him different. I believe it’s important to have different kinds of people in society today whether it’s looks or the way they act especially because of how the society standards are and the pressure we are always under being told to be something we really aren’t.”
Sammy Perkins was the second-place winner for his photo of a reflection in a car’s mirror. “My photo is a reflection looking back. I matter because I look to the future and do not look back, which is what the photo is symbolic of.”
Third place went to Sydney Jane Gaytan for her photo looking at the sun through the furled pages of a book. “My photo complies with the theme ‘I Matter Because’ because I think that it shows that we all have that one thing about us that makes us the people we are. It makes us matter. In the photo, the sun is the subject, and I think of that as ‘the reason’ I matter.”
Alona Angaline Davis’ painting was awarded first place. “This piece shows that I matter because I have made it this far, with the dark tears turning into forget-me-not petals and specks of gold turning into a sun embracing and surrounding the lady in the portrait. This symbolizes embracing and coming to terms with both the good and bad moments in life to grow as a person, with the gold flakes meaning good memories and the dark tears the bad memories. I matter because my life and my past experiences matter.”
Nevaeh Amathest Grace Elaine Plonski titled her piece, which placed second, “Chasing Happily Ever After.” In it a young girl is reaching for the sun, surrounded by many other reaching hands. “I wanted to focus on the combined hope that is presented by many people working together toward the goal of bettering the world around them, and how important that is. I am always in awe of the power that an individual holds to change the world with like-minded people. I matter because I’m one part of a goal much larger than myself. I choose how I matter, and this is what matters to me.”
In third place was the work of Sarah Lynn Behringer. “I matter because of my potential. This artwork represents how the darkness in my life has been used to consistently motivate me to be better; every single moment of my life contributes to my identity as a human. The potential to be more than I am is what makes life worth living.”
Whitty said he felt the entries this year were particularly strong. “This might be the year in which we get an artist or two through to the state level,” he said.