Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

PTA reflects students’ best interests

Reflections art contest inspires noncompetitive, vital artistic expression

PTA’s Reflections Art Program offers a unique opportunity for all students to display their artistic talents. The contest, held annually, accepts themed entries from students from pre-K through grade 12 in a variety of artistic media, according to the PTA website. Submissions for this school year’s contest have closed, and so have nominations for next year’s themes.

Art allows students to express themselves creatively and reduce stress. (Illustration by Alicia Liste)

I originally believed the contest would not sufficiently motivate students to participate because it lacked clear advertisement of the possible scholarships available for winners. However, I now realize that despite this, the contest mirrors the best interests of all students. 

The program is not directly associated with schools’ art classes, putting less pressure on students. Instead of turning in a modified entry to get a good grade, students can submit works of art that come from the heart. This makes for a less competitive environment that encourages all students, regardless of skill level, to get involved. Whether they win or not, all participants will be recognized, according to the PTA website

I have never been too confident in my artistic abilities, and I tend to avoid taking art classes out of fear of not being good enough. However, the more casual nature of this contest makes participating seem significantly less intimidating, enough so that I plan on submitting an entry next year.

Moreover, the program is entirely based on student involvement, as students even submit the year’s theme. This year’s theme, “I am hopeful because…” was nominated by Alice Meko, who attends Hampton Cove Elementary School, according to the PTA websiteAlthough they do not judge the entries, students’ nomination of the themes allows them to have more of a say in how they creatively express themselves. Their instruction comes from a peer instead of from an intimidating teacher.

The themes themselves also often present important ideas such as self-confidence and kindness, which encourage students to explore their values and develop a strong moral compass. Reviewing entries from last school year’s theme, “Show Your Voice,” I found myself moved by some of the powerful, student-made submissions. The intricate artworks, choreographies and impactful photographs, among other impressive entries, inspired me to ponder the changes I, as well as my fellow students, could make in the world, simply by sharing our opinions. 

The premise of the program itself is to create art, especially encouraging high school students, living in a world of AP classes and college applications, to take part in the therapeutic activity. Through art, we can express possibly repressed emotions, explore our creative side and relieve stress and anxiety, without the pressure of it being evaluated as yet another school assignment.

The PTA Reflections Art Program offers a vital, noncompetitive artistic outlet for students: one in which we should all participate.

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About the Contributor
Alicia Liste
Alicia Liste, Reporter
Alicia is a sophomore and a first-year staffer on The Epitaph. She is looking forward to learning from this year’s challenges and new experiences. In her free time, Alicia enjoys thrifting, taking public transit and eating good food.

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