Heroes Around Me

Families enjoying the Reflections art gallery at Stillwater High School Performing Arts Center.

Story provided by Anu Sukhdial, Stillwater City Wide PTA Reflections Chair

Photos courtesy of Genesee Photo

A group of firefighters on the rescue. A favorite teacher. The volunteers at a community agency that feed the hungry and needy. Fairies that have “superhero” powers. These are a few of the subjects that inspired Stillwater Public School students and their works of art for the 2018-2019 “Heroes Around Me” Stillwater PTA Reflections Arts in Education program. PTA Reflections is an arts program and competition that encourages Pre-K through 12th-grade students to develop original and creative works of art in six major categories: visual arts, photography, literature, film and video production, music composition, and dance choreography. The program is organized locally by the Stillwater PTA Council, in close coordination with the eight Stillwater public schools that participate in the program every year (Westwood Elementary, Sangre Ridge Elementary, Will Rogers Elementary, Skyline Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Stillwater Middle School, Stillwater Junior High, and Stillwater High School/Lincoln Academy).

Reflections kicked off at the schools in early Fall. A volunteer team of school PTA chairs work hard over the following two months to promote the program at the schools, encourage student participation, and collect all the entries. Parents and teachers are indispensable to making the program successful. This year, for the first time, the Council conducted several Saturday morning workshops to increase overall awareness of the program and to encourage student participation. These were conducted in conjunction with Prairie Arts Center, a thriving Stillwater arts center/studio that offers adult and youth classes to the community. The workshops were led by Stillwater professionals and Oklahoma State University students who have specific background/expertise in the various Reflections arts categories. For example, Jason Wallace, a local photographer and President of the Stillwater Art Guild, who has participated in more than 80 art festivals over the last decade, led the student photography workshops. Similarly, members of the Oklahoma State University Dance Company talked about dance and the process of creating and choreographing a dance piece to interested students.

Every year, the national PTA chooses a theme to help spark students’ imagination and creativity. This year’s theme was “Heroes Around Me.” The Stillwater Citywide PTA Council received 163 student entries of a tremendous variety of technique and medium – pencil/marker drawings, watercolor paintings, poems, and short stories, short films, photographs of teachers, pets, and neighbors. There were several 3-D sculptures, music compositions for piano, alto sax and orchestra; and an Irish dance. Each student is required to write an artist statement that describes in his/her own words how their work relates to the Reflections theme, “Heroes Around Me.” In mid-November, local artists and art educators, filmmakers, photographers, and creative writing professors met to review and judge the entries.

Displays of Reflections art and awards on view for families.

On December 7, students and their families gathered in the Stillwater High School Performing Arts Center to see the beautiful art on display, and to bask in the festive mood of the holiday season. Alton Carter, a local resident and award-winning author of books for children and youth, including The Boy Who Carried Bricks and The Boy Who Dreamed Big, inspired the gathered crowd with stories from his own personal life and encouraged students to forge ahead to pursue their dreams with courage. Soon afterward, student participants and winners were called to the stage and received certifications in recognition of their original and creative works of art.  

SPS Superintendent Dr. Moore thanking Special Guest and award-winning author, Mr. Alton Carter.

The 19th-century American writer, Henry David Thoreau, famously remarked, “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.” and “The world is but a canvas to your imagination.”

The goal of the Stillwater PTA Reflections program is to encourage children and youth to use their imagination and talents to “see” and express their own feelings, ideas and stories to the world through their art – whether through the medium of a paintbrush, the lens of a camera, a writing pen/computer, or through music or dance. Keep seeing, keep creating, keep dreaming.

Literature – Awards of Honorable Mention

Luke Longan 3rd Highland Park Elementary School
Mehulee Mondal 3rd Westwood Elementary School
Spencer Yannuzzi 5th Westwood Elementary School
Mackenzie Liu 6th Stillwater Middle School
Taylor Longan 7th Stillwater Middle School
Literature — Award of Honorable Mention Winners

Literature – Awards of Merit

Isabelle Ippoliti 1st Westwood Elementary School
Adhiraj Sukhdial 1st Westwood Elementary School
Julie Daniel 3rd Westwood Elementary School
Suvan Madihally 4th Westwood Elementary School
Kyriana Beard 6th Stillwater Middle School
Emery Fuxa 7th Stillwater Middle School
  Lenna Abouzahr 9th Stillwater Junior High School
Natalya Cecil-Xavier 9th Stillwater Junior High School
Literature — Award of Merit Winners

Literature – Awards of Excellence

Mattie Clark 2nd Westwood Elementary School
Abhimanyu Sukhdial 5th Westwood Elementary School
Abby Terantino 6th Stillwater Middle School
Gracie Sanders 11th Stillwater High School
Literature — Award of Excellence Winners

Photography – Awards of Honorable Mention

Danica Jennings 4th Skyline Elementary School
Ciana Borrone-Mauro 6th Stillwater Middle School
Alison Duhon 6th Stillwater Middle School
Allyssa Jennings 8th Stillwater Junior High School
Photography — Award of Honorable Mention Winners

Photography – Awards of Merit

Luke Taylor 2nd Skyline Elementary School
Katherine Waits 5th Westwood Elementary School
Addy Welch-Britton 3rd Westwood Elementary School
Ella Calvert 7th Stillwater Middle School
Emma Coulter 6th Stillwater Middle School
Photography — Award of Merit Winners

Photography – Awards of Excellence

Ben Francisco 2nd Westwood Elementary School
Spencer Yannuzzi 5th Westwood Elementary School
Emma Yates 7th Stillwater Middle School
Photography — Award of Excellence Winners

Dance Choreography – Award of Merit

  Rosemary Brown  3rd  Sangre Ridge Elementary School

Film and Video Production – Awards of Excellence

Kerrison Gray 1st Westwood Elementary School
Abhimanyu Sukhdial 5th Westwood Elementary School
Noah Taylor 4th Skyline Elementary School
Suchita Madihally 8th Stillwater Junior High School
Film/VIdeo Production — Award of Excellence Winners

Music Composition – Award of Merit

Cassidy McCann 12th Stillwater High School

Music Composition – Award of Excellence

Ana Villasenor 12th Stillwater High School
Music Composition City Wide Winners of Merit and Excellence

Visual Arts – Awards of Honorable Mention

Sophie Chapman 2nd Will Rogers Elementary School
Javius Cole 2nd Will Rogers Elementary School
Hannah Johnson 2nd Westwood Elementary School
Jennifer Ku 2nd Sangre Ridge Elementary School
Hayden McMullen 2nd Will Rogers Elementary School
Stella Moyer 1st Will Rogers Elementary School
Harlin Schuster Pre-K Westwood Elementary School
Adhiraj Sukhdial 1st Westwood Elementary School
Parker Ward 2nd Westwood Elementary School
Gavin Bambrough 5th Westwood Elementary School
Cayden Brandes 3rd Will Rogers Elementary School
Jaxon Brannon 4th Westwood Elementary School
Michael Clayton 4th Will Rogers Elementary School
Emilio Doust 4th Will Rogers Elementary School
Danica Jennings 4th Skyline Elementary School
Brooklynn Lomboy 5th Westwood Elementary School
Kate Moyer 3rd Will Rogers Elementary School
Kallie Strecker 5th Will Rogers Elementary School
Meredith Baker 6th Stillwater Middle School
Colton Condit 6th Stillwater Middle School
Hayley Dominick 9th Stillwater Junior High School
Delaney Luttrell 9th Stillwater Junior High School
Alexander Park 9th Stillwater Junior High School
Abigail Webber 9th Stillwater Junior High School
Jaeleigh Burris 10th Stillwater High School
Madi Goodwin 12th Stillwater High School
Madelynn Hutcherson 10th Stillwater High School
Visual Arts – Award of Honorable Mention Winners

Visual Arts – Awards of Merit

Katriel Peiffer 1st Sangre Ridge Elementary School
Canton Williams 1st Westwood Elementary School
Eunice Kim 5th Sangre Ridge Elementary School
Mehulee Mondal 3rd Westwood Elementary School
Avery Littlefield 7th Stillwater Middle School
Nicole Xiang 6th Stillwater Middle School
Emily Massar 9th Stillwater Junior High School
Sydney Wannebo 12th Stillwater High School
Visual Arts – Awards of Merit Winners

Visual Arts – Awards of Merit (Special Artist)

   Ernie Chandler 7th Stillwater Middle School

Visual Arts – Awards of Excellence

David Moore 1st Will Rogers Elementary School
Allison Terantino 3rd Westwood Elementary School
Sophie Deng 7th Stillwater Middle School
Emma Bollinger 12th Stillwater High School
Visual Arts – Awards of Excellence Winners

Visual Arts – Judge’s Choice

Brooklynn Lomboy 5th Westwood Elementary School
Karen White 12th Stillwater High School
Judge’s Choice Winner in Visual Arts — Brooklynn Lomboy, Westwood Elementary School

* Note: Judge’s Choice is a category only used in Stillwater PTA Reflections program; not included in state/national PTA Reflections

To see the complete list of participants and winners click here.

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