Celebrating PTA Reflections Winners

Fifth grader Zachary Yang.
Photos by Lori BODNAR


“I Will Change the World By….” was the national Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Reflections theme this year. Many Mountain Avenue Elementary School students showed their creativity and artistic abilities, reflecting on the theme and creating original works of art in six different categories: visual arts, photography, film production, dance choreography, music composition, and literature. The age divisions include primary (TK-2nd grade), intermediate (3rd-5th grade), middle (6th-8th grade), and high school (9th-12th grade). There is also a category for special artists for students with disabilities, or they may also enter the division most closely aligned with their abilities.

On Nov. 4, Mountain Avenue Elementary held a virtual meeting with students and their parents to congratulate and honor all the Reflections winners and participants from the school.

Mountain Avenue Principal Jaclyn Scott said, “The annual PTA Reflections Art Program is a celebration of student artistic talent at Mountain Avenue and to encourage and recognize student talent throughout schools across the nation. Mountain Avenue students go above and beyond, where many students submit multiple entries in a wide variety of categories. I am always so impressed by the caliber of student ability and achievement – whether it’s a stop motion film or a musical composition – our students always shine in this art celebration! Similar to last year, due to covid safety concerns we celebrated virtually through a live Zoom ceremony.  Our wonderful PTA made sure that students had their awards and medals in hand for the ceremony!”

Mountain Avenue PTA president Amelia Lapeña said, “PTA has always been committed to the arts. Participation benefits both our students and community, allowing both to explore and grow in their artistic literacy. Over the years through the National PTA Reflections program, Mountain Avenue PTA has encouraged its students (from Transitional Kindergarten through Grade 6) to express themselves in various artistic ways in response to a student-selected theme. This year we continue our tradition with our Reflections Chairpersons, Amy Jo Rhine and Bo Kim, running this program successfully even while maintaining Covid-19 safety protocols.” 

Amelia continued, “This year’s theme motivated 21 Mountain Avenue students to submit 35 entries. We celebrated our artists at our virtual November PTA Association Meeting! Our PTA has run its Reflections program for many years now, and every year I am in awe of the students and their creative artworks. Congratulations to these amazing students. I hope they continue to enjoy making art; their artworks were not only inspired by this theme but provide inspiration to those around them.”

Mountain Avenue Reflections winners in Film Composition include Zachary Yang who won first place at the intermediate level and Samantha Lee who won first place at the middle level.

Reflections winners in music composition include Abigail Lammering and William Shin who tied for first place at the intermediate level, Suzie Bodnar who won third place at the intermediate level, and Pranav Arunachalam who won first place at the middle level.

In photography, Maya Manchikatla won first plus third place, and Daisy Kim won second place at the intermediate level. Samantha Lee won first place at the middle level.

First place Reflections literature winner Maya Manchikatla.

In the visual arts category, Daisy Kim won first place, and William Shin and Suzie Bodnar tied for third place at the intermediate level. In the middle division, Lando Neal won first place and Samantha Lee won second place.

Maya Manchikatla won first place and Suzie Bodnar won second place in literature at the intermediate level. Pranav Arunachalam won first place for the middle division.

Sixth grader Pranav Arunchalam said, “My song and writing is about me helping my community. In my song, the piece progressively gets louder and faster showing improvements. My inspiration was that I always see other people helping every day, so I want to follow their example and help my community in any way I can. I have participated in Reflections for four years. I enjoyed making my entries and I can’t wait to make my next one. I love the topics that Reflections gives. The Reflections program gives plenty of time and encouragement to people who want to try. My song and writing are dedicated to all the people who are out there working hard to help in any way they can.”

Fifth grader Zachary Yang commented, “My Reflections entry is titled ‘Ways to be Nice’, and it is about being nice to everyone and ways to do so. It was inspired by all the kindness messages at Mountain Avenue, and how in the Mountain Avenue motto B.E.A.R.S, B stands for Be Kind and that one stood out to me. I have participated in Reflections since Kindergarten, so for 6 years. I like how PTA Reflections lets us show our ideas and creativity with others.”

Suzie Bodnar with her second place Reflections literature certificate and medal.

Fifth grader Suzie Bodnar entered four of the six arts categories. Suzie said, “Reflections is fun. Everyone does such amazing artwork. I enjoyed the ceremony and being inspired by everyone’s creativity. I also was happy to share my voice and songs with the world. I want to change the world by my voice.”

The PTA Reflections arts program inspires and encourages student creativity. Many Mountain Avenue students participated in PTA Reflections this year with beautiful and unique entries in photography, literature, music composition, film production, and visual arts.