PTA Reflections Winners Announced

Isa Lee ’23
EE Staff Writer 

Trumbull students have a place to showcase their talent through the National PTA Reflections program. Reflections provides opportunities for recognition in the arts and boosts self esteem. Every year, over 300,000 students, nationally, participate  in creating original pieces through various art categories in the program. 

This program was originally designed to help students explore their talents and go beyond their mere walls of everyday life. This is a way for teens and kids to express themselves in something they love.

This year, the theme was I Matter Because…  This theme was designed to help everyone remember why they matter and how they are important, especially because of the challenging year everyone has been through. 

In this contest, there are many different categories such as dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography, and visual arts. 

Zdena Quinn, Reflections chairpersons for Frenchtown, Madison, and Trumbull High school has been a big asset to this program. She has been encouraging students for years to explore their talents and express themselves, while running the program. 

There is always at least one creation each year that takes my breath away”, said Quinn. “One of my favorites was a submission the year that ‘The World Would Be a Better Place if…..’ was the theme. I think the child was in first grade, they drew a picture of their mother and their artist statement said, ‘The world would be a better place if we all listened to our mommies’.”

Students submit their artwork to Local PTAs for initial judging. In Trumbull, school-level judging occurred in January and then all local Connecticut PTAs submitted their 1st place winning entries to the State Office. The state announced their winners in March and the top entries from our State PTA Reflections contest advanced to National PTA for the final round of judging. National PTA winners are announced each May.

The deadline this year for the submissions was December 21 and a few of many applicants were chosen as winners for the 2020-2021 year. Congratulations to the 2020-2021 winners!

In the dance category, there was one award. Rachel Weintraub won first place for her piece called Dance Positively Unafraid

In the photography category there were four winners. In first place, Olivia Ray; second, Christina Arduini; and tied for Third Johannes Rysse and Aidan Brunt. 

“The picture I submitted was taken on a holiday we celebrate in my culture, Diwali”, said sophomore Olivia Ray, who has been doing Reflections since third grade. “It was taken from a low angle to show all the clay lamps reflecting on the floor. I chose it because my culture is a big part of who I am and I want to embrace it. It shows how different cultures around the world are important too and diversity is what makes us all so great.” 

Next, there were three visual arts winners: First place went to Olivia Ray, second to Lily Nuland and third place to Misha Patel. 

There were three winners in literature: Olivia Ray won first place for a piece she wrote called “The Grocery Girl”. Second went to Johannes Rysse, for his piece called “Just Me”.  And Gabby Pavlov won third place with her piece of literature called “I Matter Because”. 

“I have struggled with self confidence in the past, so this poem is more of a reflection of myself now and how I am more confident in myself, even with my flaws”, said sophomore Gabby Pavlov who has been doing the contest since elementary school and has won multiple times. “That is the main thing I thought of when I was brainstorming what to write about”.

“During quarantine, a lot of us were pretty bored and I definitely was too, but I decided to channel some of that boredom into things I like doing like writing”, said Ray. “I was just kind of sitting in my living room one day and looking out the window.  This was during the peak of Covid so we ordered groceries to our house. I saw this lady come by and drop them off with a smile on her face and I thought that those people that we never really paid attention to before were the ones really saving us now. I thought of how much contribution simple jobs can have during a pandemic and so I wrote the story inspired by the delivery person I saw to show how each person matters in their own way.” 

The THS PTSA Reflections page shows the rules for each category and displays an Art Gallery from last year. More information can also be found at the National PTA Reflections website.

The theme for each year is chosen from ideas submitted by students in the Theme Search which happens in November each year. A list of past themes dating back to 1969 can be found on the national PTA Reflections site. 


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