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Draper Elementary student among nation’s top in Reflections

Aug 28, 2017 04:34PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Draper Elementary fifth-grader Alyssa Meadows composed her piano entry, “From Place to Place Ohio, Texas, California, Utah,” for the PTA Reflections contest and was the National Award of Merit winner. (Meg Meadows/Draper Elementary)

Gallery: PTA Reflections [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Julie Slama | Julie@mycityjournals.com

Every day in late spring, fifth-grader Alyssa Meadows would check the National PTA Reflections website, seeing if the winners were announced — until May 2.

That day, she broke into a smile.

“I was surprised and happy at the same time,” she said about learning her music composition won an award of merit. “There are thousands of entries so I was very excited.”

Alyssa, who began playing piano when she was six, wrote a place to the theme, “What is your story?” about living in several states. She called it “From Place to Place Ohio, Texas, California, Utah.”

“I worked on it for about two months, keeping my right hand with the melody mostly,” she said. “Every part of the song reflected where I lived. In Ohio, it was a slower movement and Texas where it’s really hot, I played faster and louder. In California, I imagined gentle waves from the ocean, so I played it slower and more flowing. In Utah, I have a much more active melody with it at a higher octave. The ending is similar to Utah’s, but I changed the notes and brought it together more by slowing it down.”

Alyssa, who has won her school, regional and state levels in the intermediate division, has her state medal on a shelf in her bedroom. She said she enjoys the creativity of the Reflections program.

“I like how every piece of art or every entry is different. We’re all coming up with things and letting everyone see our talents and see what they like about them,” she said.

Alyssa, who also has entered other categories, was already beginning to ponder ideas for the 2017–18 Reflections contest. This year’s theme is “Within Reach.”

The National PTA Reflections awards has celebrated more than 45 years of student achievement in the arts including dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual art. There is also a special artist division.

Utah PTA has sponsored the Reflections program for more than 40 years.

The Reflections arts program was started in 1969 by then Colorado State PTA President Mary Lou Anderson. Since then, Reflections has become an international program as PTAs in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and US military schools overseas have joined the 50 states to participate in this program.

Each year, a theme search contest is held where students can submit ideas for upcoming years. Once the National PTA Reflections Committee announces the year’s theme, PTA volunteers coordinate the contest.

With the Reflections contest, a judging process is used that assists in narrowing down the number of entries as artwork passes through different levels of PTA. In Utah there are typically between 10,000 and 13,000 entries submitted each year. Nationally about 300,000 entries are submitted.

Students typically receive two types of awards — the award of excellence and the award of merit. The award of excellence is given to the entries that are judged to be the best in their category. These entries then move on to the next level of judging. The award of merit recipients are the runners-up and are recognized at the school, council and region level. If they receive an award of excellence at the state level, they then advance to the national PTA for the final round of judging. 

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