With school arts programs getting cut left and right, local PTA groups are hoping to keep their students’ creative spirits alive through an annually held competition.
This year Montebello Unified School District’s PTA groups received more submissions than ever for its ‘Reflections’ contest, which asked students to interpret the theme, Diversity Means, through a variety of mediums.
The Montebello PTA council made an extra effort to promote the competition this year and was pleasantly surprised by the response. Their award ceremony was standing room only, reflecting what they hope is the growing popularity of the contest.
“This is an excellent program because it provides students a platform to be able to showcase their talents,” said Toni Lopez, corresponding secretary for the Montebello Council PTA and chairperson for the contest.
Students who won in this year’s competition submitted poetry and illustrated artwork, but the competition is also open to photography, music, and film. Judges for the competition include professionals from the arts community. assembled by the school district’s arts coordinator.
Vail High School student Max Alaniz, 17, took home the top prize, winning not only his category of visual arts with a drawing of a pair of hands forming a heart around the planet Earth, but also the “Outstanding Interpretation” award for the best interpretation of the theme.
Jasmine Gerritson, 17, of Schurr High School won in the literature category with her poem “A Typical Day At the Market Place.”
Briana Hernandez, 10, of Bell Gardens Elementary won in the visual arts category for her illustration of a peace sign superimposed over Earth, entitled “Diversity.”
The three pieces have been submitted to the regional competition for the 33rd PTA district. Winners in that competition are forwarded to the state level.
Lopez said they have already announced next year’s theme, “Magic of a Moment,” giving students the next few months and the summer to work on their entries before the November deadline.