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PTA Reflections Contest Honors Alexandria Student Artists
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PTA Reflections Contest Honors Alexandria Student Artists

“Family,” by Abigail Altenburg, grade 6, George Washington MS - 1st Place, Photography, Middle School.

“Family,” by Abigail Altenburg, grade 6, George Washington MS - 1st Place, Photography, Middle School.

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“Exploding the Future,” by Saha Irwin, grade 2, Jefferson-Houston School - 1st Place, Visual Arts, Primary.

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“Las Patronas,” by Claudia Martino, grade 8, George Washington MS - 1st Place, Middle School.

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“Learning To Walk in Heels,” by Lillian Morton, grade 12, T.C. Williams - 1st Place, Photography, High School.

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“Outreached,” by Ava Benbow, grade 11, TC Williams - 1st Place, Visual Arts, High School.

Fifty-five Alexandria City Public Schools students have earned awards for their artistic achievements in the 2017-18 Alexandria PTA Reflections contest. At 13 schools across the city, the students choreographed dances, made films, wrote poems and stories, composed music, took photographs, and created visual art, all based on this year’s contest theme, “Within Reach.” All had already won 1st Place Awards at their own schools before competing in the city-level contest.

Some students had unique concepts for interpreting the theme. Lillian Morton, a senior at T.C. Williams, won 1st Place in the city’s High School Photography division for a photograph of two pairs of feet under a table, one in the shoes of a small child and one in high-heeled pumps. In the Artist’s Statement she wrote to accompany her photograph, she described her work as a visual representation of the transition from child to adult. “The distance to the floor from one’s chair is just within reach as children. Once we grow up, we reach for bigger things. We can comfortably rest our feet on the floor and stride forward in our lives …. As we reach for the transition to adulthood, we must bridge the gap and learn how to walk in heels.”

Mount Vernon Community School third-grader Nora Beekman won 1st Place in the Intermediate Division for Music Composition for her song, “I’ve Been Waiting.” In her Artist’s Statement, she explains, “The person in my song has hope that is within reach, and it’s also about somebody who’s not afraid.”

The students’ inspirations come from many sources. Eighth-grader Claudia Martino’s won 1st Place in Visual Arts, Middle School, for her painting, “Las Patronas,” which shows a woman handing a bag of food to a man leaning out from the door of a train. The idea for the George Washington Middle School student’s entry came from a CNN report about a group of women in Mexico who bring food each day to Central American migrants on their way to the United States. “The theme ‘Within Reach,’” she says, “made me remember how by reaching out with food, this group saves hundreds of lives.”

Entries at each level are evaluated by judges who are experts in the arts categories they’re judging: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, or Visual Arts. Entries are judges on three criteria: Creativity, Technique, and Interpretation of the Contest Theme.

The 55 students won 60 awards in the city’s contest, with several students entering and winning in more than one contest category. Twenty-two of the entries won 1st Place awards in the city’s contest and are now competing at the district level in the Northern Virginia Reflections contest. After district results are announced next month, Northern Virginia’s 1st Place winners will advance to the state competition.

Alexandria’s winners will be celebrated the evening of March 16 at the Alexandria Reflections Awards Program and Art Show Opening at the Durant Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public. An art show of the works will be open there through mid-May.

Alexandria PTA Reflections Winners

DANCE CHOREOGRAPHY

Primary (K-grade 2)

1st Place – Sophia Marcy, 1st grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “Don’t Stop Believing”

2nd Place – Amir Frasier, 2nd grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “Fight Hate”

Intermediate (grades 3-5)

1st Place – George Guryan, 3rd grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “Part of Me”

2nd Place – Jennifer Adu-Wadier, 4th grade, James Polk ES, “Within Reach for Contortion”

3rd Place – Ava Marcy, 5th grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “A Dream Is a Wish”

Middle School (grades 6-8)

1st Place – Peyton Marcy, 7th grade, George Washington MS, “Something Just Like This”

FILM PRODUCTION

Primary (K-grade 2)

1st Place – Atanas Janevski, 2nd grade, Mt Vernon Community School

“Looking for a Hero (Training for Halloween)”

Intermediate (grades 3-5)

1st Place – Alex Eissenstat, 5th grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “Can’t Quite Reach the Pizza”

2nd Place – Marisa Vidal, 5th grade, James Polk ES, “Within Reach”

3rd Place (tie) – Wesley Anderson, 3rd grade, Matthew Maury ES, “Within Reach”

3rd Place (tie) – Daniel Dawit, 5th grade, John Adams ES, “Reach Out”

Middle School (grades 6-8)

1st Place – Eliza Gwin, 6th grade, George Washington MS, “When He’s Within Reach”

2nd Place – Amanda Johnson, 6th grade, Jefferson-Houston School, “The Great Almost-Catch”

LITERATURE

Primary (K-grade 2)

1st Place – Saha Irwin, 2nd grade, Jefferson-Houston School, “A Walk Around the World”

2nd Place – Molly Payne, 2nd grade, Charles Barrett ES, “Beautiful Dreams”

3rd Place – Amelia Parks, 2nd grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “I Believe In My Dreams”

HM – Shayne Suslowitz, 1st grade, James Polk ES, “The Band Cats”

Intermediate (grades 3-5)

1st Place – Lucy Hunnicutt, 3rd grade, John Adams ES, “Within Reach”

2nd Place – Samantha Brayman, 5th grade, Charles Barrett ES, “Dreams are Nigh”

3rd Place – Jack Sibbald, 5th grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “The Future”

HM – Caroline Osinski, 4th grade, George Mason ES, “Within Reach”

Middle School (grades 6-8)

1st Place – Eliza Gwin, 6th grade, George Washington MS, “Within Reach”

2nd Place – Lillian Try, 6th grade, Jefferson-Houston School, “Ball In My Glove”

High School (grades 9-12)

1st Place – Frealem Bekele, 10th grade, TC Williams HS, “Destiny Within Reach”

MUSIC COMPOSITION

Primary (K-grade 2)

1st Place – Mariana Carpio, 1st grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “Mount Vernon Safety”

Intermediate (grades 3-5)

1st Place – Nora Beekman, 3rd grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “I’ve Been Waiting”

2nd Place – Noah Sternberg, 5th grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “Balancing Act”

3rd Place – Brooke Hunnicutt, 3rd grade, John Adams ES, “The High Note Jam”

Director’s Award – Julia Gwin, 4th grade, Matthew Maury, “Girls With a Goal”

Middle School (grades 6-8)

1st Place – Eliana Rougle, 6th grade, Francis Hammond MS, “Reaching for the Stars”

High School (grades 9-12)

1st Place – Jonathan Morgan Petrini, 10th grade, TC Williams HS, “Reaching”

PHOTOGRAPHY

Primary (K-grade 2)

1st Place – Saha Irwin, 2nd grade, Jefferson-Houston School, “Looking Through Twins”

2nd Place – Gavin Zwiselsberger, 2nd grade, Charles Barrett ES, “Columns of UVA”

3rd Place – Mary Blue Pohjola, 1st grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “Sunset on the Potomac”

Director’s Award – Maynor Martinez, 2nd grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “Camera”

Intermediate (grades 3-5)

1st Place – Adelaide Flint, 4th grade, George Mason ES, “Stronger”

2nd Place – Jack Sibbald, 5th grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “The New Tech”

3rd Place (tie) – John Robert Jones, 5th grade, James Polk ES, “A Welcome Change”

3rd Place (tie) – Victoria Patrick, 5th grade, Charles Barrett ES, “Photographer”

HM – Lucy Hunnicutt, 3rd grade, John Adams ES, “Only Across the Basin”

HM – Marin Kahl, 5th grade, Matthew Maury ES, “To the Sky”

HM – Sophia Zabel, 4th grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “Blue Corn Flower”

Middle School (grades 6-8)

1st Place – Abigail Altenburg, 6th grade, George Washington MS, “Family”

2nd Place – Daisy Ballantine, 6th grade, Jefferson-Houston School, “Almost There”

High School (grades 9-12)

1st Place – Lillian Morton, 12th grade, TC Williams HS, “Learning To Walk in Heels”

VISUAL ARTS

Primary (K-grade 2)

1st Place – Saha Irwin, 2nd grade, Jefferson-Houston ES, “Exploding the Future”

2nd Place (tie) – Nathalie Garza Bangas, 1st grade, James Polk ES, “I Love School”

2nd Place (tie) – Claire Joffrion, 1st grade, Douglas MacArthur ES

“Monkey Bars Are Within My Reach”

3rd Place – Charlie Corbin, 1st grade, Matthew Maury ES, “Reaching My Pontenteilor”

HM – Winston Sadoo, 2nd grade, Charles Barrett ES, “Reach Farther”

Intermediate (grades 3-5)

1st Place – Claudia Cutting, 5th grade, Matthew Maury ES, “The Long Journey”

2nd Place – Josephine Battle, 3rd grade, Douglas MacArthur ES, “Harmony”

3rd Place (tie) – Celeste Bernstein, 5th grade, Mt Vernon Community School, “The TOP!”

3rd Place (tie) – Aleksandra Richardson, 5th grade, James Polk ES, “The Wall”

HM – Gabriela Galvan, 3rd grade, Cora Kelly ES for Math, Science & Technology, “Reach In”

Director’s Award – Isabelle Lara, 3rd grade, George Mason ES, “My Future”

Director’s Award – Karol de la Cruz Ortega, 5th grade, William Ramsay ES, “Success”

Middle School (grades 6-8)

1st Place – Claudia Martino, 8th grade, George Washington MS, “Las Patronas”

2nd Place – James McBride, 6th grade, Jefferson-Houston School, “In the Palm of Our Hands”

High School (grades 9-12)

1st Place – Ava Benbow, 11th grade, TC Williams, “Outreached Hand”