“I MATTER BECAUSE…” This was the 2020 theme for the annual PTA Reflections Program. The impressive nature of this program demonstrates how during this year of pandemic-induced education, where our children were not even in the classroom until October, over 1,000 students still submitted amazing works of art, literature, poetry, music composition, film, photography and dance that celebrated why THEY MATTERED.
National PTA sponsors the longest running and most popular art competition in the nation. It began in 1969 when Mary Lou Anderson, the then President of the Colorado PTA, developed this remarkable program designed to encourage our student to explore their talents and express themselves through the arts. Each Fall, students around the country are presented with a theme and asked to interpret that theme through the artistic mediums of visual arts, literature, music composition, photography, filmography and dance. Since inception, millions of students have participated in the Reflections programs, and even in the age of Covid- 19, East Cobb students rose to the challenge of creating works of art for consideration. The budding talent in our area is remarkable and the work submitted was an amazing compilation of beauty and imagination.
The work begins when school starts in August. The PTA Reflections Chairs for each of the 35 schools in the East Cobb County Council of PTA’s (ECCC PTA), delivers the theme to their K-12 communities and our students work fastidiously to interpret and deliver a work of art in the medium of their choice. These entries are judged at the school level and the winners (1st and 2nd place in each medium and in each grade) are then submitted to the ECCC PTA, where they are again judged. Those winners are then submitted to the Georgia State PTA, which, along with winning entries from around the State, are again judged for submission to the National competition. Judges look for technical skill, creativity and interpretation of the theme – a difficult job considering the level of talent on display.
This year ECCC PTA witnessed an amazing array of aptitude, ability and creativity. There were gorgeous submissions of art, masterpieces of literature and poetry, incredible musical and dance interpretive pieces, emotively beautiful photography and incredibly imaginative film. The talent our students have is extraordinary.
It is proven over and over that embracing the arts and encouraging students to explore their creative side stimulates the brain and enhances their educational experience. Of the many programs and events that PTA hosts every year, the Reflections program stands alone in helping our students discover their creative process and fuel their imagination.
This creative spark then helps students excel in areas of math, science and language arts. As a community, we need to continue to embolden the artistic process by supporting our children’s participation in this amazing celebration of the arts.
Tammy Andress is the President of the East Cobb County Council of PTAs and a Co-Vice President of the Lassiter PTSA. She is a longtime advocate for public education and the mother of three daughters; a Senior at American University in Washington DC, and a Senior and Sophomore at Lassiter High School.
This article originally appeared in the January/February issue. You can access that HERE.