For many years the Windham PTA encouraged participation in the National PTA Reflections Program, a competition celebrating the arts. In 2009, the program had approximately 300 submissions locally. But after that year, the program faded in Windham – until now.
This year, the Windham PTA is once again offering a chance for students to submit original work in three categories – visual arts, photography and literature. The national theme is “Let Your Imagination Fly.”
Chelsea Sperry, Windham PTA treasurer and co-chair of the Reflections committee said they are just getting started in the process. Information went home through the schools on Monday, October 26th for the kick-off of the program. Submissions are due by December 18th, giving students roughly eight weeks to create their work.
Every school system has an opportunity to take part in the program, which starts locally but offers students a chance to go all the way to the national level. The program has lagged throughout the state, she said, with only seven schools signed up to participate this year. “We wanted to start it up again in our community because we think it’s a great way to focus on cultural arts,” she said.
“We’d love to have a great response and participation from the students,” added Reflections co-chair Kathleen Vail.
While information about the program is being distributed through the schools, the committee emphasized that it is not a school program. “It’s an extracurricular activity,” said PTA vice president Melanie Keary.
“The parents cannot help. It’s strictly student guided independent art,” said Vail. But families can offer support and encouragement for students who wish to participate.
“We’re hoping that the families support their students in participating in the program,” said Keary.
Once the submission deadline has passed, the works will be judged by a panel of three judges for each category. There are four age groups, and students from Kindergarten through grade 12 can participate. Each age group will have one winner in each of the three competition categories. These twelve winners will have their work submitted at the state level, and the statewide winners will be submitted on the national level.
At the end of the program, the Windham PTA will hold a recognition event for all participants, though the details of that are not yet set. Participation in the program is another opportunity for students to shine within the schools and community, Sperry said.
“So many of our kids have a creative spark,” Keary added. “This is an extra opportunity to display what they can do to their peers and to the community and we’d like to give as many kids that chance as possible.”
The committee is still looking for volunteers to be on the judges’ panels. Anyone interested who does not have a personal connection to a student can contact the committee for more details. Any families or students with questions, suggestions or feedback can email the committee at email@example.com.