Stu­dents re­flect on heroes

Mead­ows El­e­men­tary holds 50th an­nual pro­gram cel­e­brat­ing the arts

The Signal - - News - By Bren­non Dix­son Sig­nal Staff Writer bdix­son@sig­

Mead­ows El­e­men­tary School stu­dent dancers, mu­si­cians, pho­tog­ra­phers, artists and writ­ers par­tic­i­pated in Thurs­day’s 50th an­nual Re­flec­tions cer­e­mony, a Na­tional Par­ent Teacher As­so­ci­a­tion-spon­sored pro­gram that en­cour­ages stu­dents to cre­ate orig­i­nal works of art.

The lo­cal el­e­men­tary school held its cel­e­bra­tory show­case and re­cep­tion Thurs­day in its mul­ti­pur­pose room, which was filled with more than a hun­dred pieces of art that were cre­ated by the Ne­whall School Dis­trict stu­dents through­out the year.

This year’s theme is “Heroes Around Me,” mean­ing stu­dents were en­cour­aged to cre­ate art that il­lus­trates the im­pact­ful fig­ures in their lives, ac­cord­ing to Chris­tine Zazueta-Brill, a co-chair of Thurs­day’s pro­gram.

It was ev­i­dent that the theme meant some­thing dif­fer­ent to each par­tic­i­pant as por­traits, stat­ues and other unique art­works that lined the room from end to end show­cased par­ents, first re­spon­ders, comic book heroes and even wildlife.

Zazueta-Brill said thou­sands of stu­dents across the na­tion in grades pre-K through high school an­nu­ally cre­ate and sub­mit pieces in one or mul­ti­ple art cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing dance chore­og­ra­phy, film com­po­si­tion, mu­sic, lit­er­a­ture, pho­tog­ra­phy and the vis­ual arts.

The en­tries are re­viewed by judges who have ex­pe­ri­ence or a deep knowl­edge in a par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory, Zazueta-Brill said, adding, “Be­lieve it or not it is a tough job for the judges.”

No mat­ter their plac­ing, each of Mead­ows’ par­tic­i­pants were rec­og­nized with a par­tic­i­pa­tion award, Zazueta-Brill said, “(be­cause) we see how im­por­tant it is to our kids.”

“For some of th­ese kids it is their jam,” she added, be­cause they draw at home or sing, but for oth­ers, it is an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore an­other part of them­selves and then be re­warded for putting them­selves out there.

“We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate all of the kids’ hard work. We’re ex­cited to re­ward them.”

“It is pretty im­pres­sive,” Zazueta Brill said, re­fer­ring to both the pro­gram and the stu­dent work. “This is more than an art pro­gram. I be­lieve this is ac­tu­ally a skill.”

To com­pre­hend the theme and cre­ate art or a vi­sion that con­veys a par­tic­u­lar mes­sage is a ta­lent that work­ing artists or peo­ple who write, film or cre­ate do ev­ery­day, she added.

“We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate all of the kids’ hard work,” co-chair Tif­fany Her­nan­dez said prior to the pre­sen­ta­tion of the par­tic­i­pa­tion tro­phies. “We’re ex­cited to re­ward them.”

Zazueta-Brill, who was de­scribed as pas­sion­ate in each of the seven years when she’s headed the pro­gram, would also be hon­ored dur­ing her fi­nal event as chair with flow­ers and cheers.

Tif­fany Her­nan­dez, co-chair of the event

Dan Wat­son/The Sig­nal

From left: Broth­ers Sharky, 7, and Ry­der Boyd, 10, stand by Sharky’s art­work en­ti­tled “My Fa­vorite Heros Don’t Wear Capes” at the 50th an­nual Re­flec­tions Gala held at Mead­ows El­e­men­tary School Thurs­day.

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