PTA announces Reflections contest winners


Four RBHS students will move on to the state level in the PTA Reflections contest. Photo by Daphne Yu

Raj Satpathy

Four RBHS students will move on to the state level in the PTA Reflections contest. Photo by Daphne Yu
Four RBHS students will move on to the state level in the PTA Reflections contest. Photo by Daphne Yu

The ubiquitous Parent-Teacher Association has maintained its presence among the nation’s schools for 117 years. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to “make every child’s potential a reality.” The National PTA Reflections program is just one more step towards helping students achieve to the fullest of their abilities.

PTA Reflections is a competition which asks America’s youth to take an introspective look and express themselves through literature and the arts. The 2012-2013 theme was “The Magic of the Moment.” There were various categories available for participants to compete in, ranging from literature to musical composition to photography. According to Dr. Della Streaty-Wilhoit, the PTA Reflections chair in the Columbia area, submissions this year covered a wide range of ground, but all had one thing in common.

“When a person writes or does things in the Reflections program, they’re usually doing it from the heart,” Streaty-Wilhoit said. “They’re sharing a little bit of their personal life with you.”

The trend held true for junior Joanna Zhang, one of RBHS’ student representatives who will be moving onward to the state competition level. For her, life was not defined by a single event, but rather as a collection of such important magical moments.

“Life is a succession of moments that are each important in their own way,” Zhang said. “For example, the tipping point of a situation all happens in a moment, or accidents, or when a child is born. The magic of a moment is how one instant in time can have such significance on the way life plays out.”

Though the Reflections program offers monetary rewards to any participants who manage to make it to state and beyond, there is more to the competition than simply receiving monetary compensation for hard work. The Reflections program is chiefly about self-growth, according to Streaty-Wilhoit.

“A student can articulate their talents and then get the chance to go onto state and nationals, and they can then get some compensation,” Streaty-Wilhoit said. “But what is more important than that is that it builds their confidence — it lets one know what they’re good at. It also does amazing things for your resume.”

Four students from RBHS are moving onward to the state level after submitting their works of art in the competition. In all, only ten even participated. That’s a far cry from the goal that Streaty-Wilhoit is aiming to achieve next year. She believes that PTA Reflections is an excellent program but that it lacks a strong public awareness among students.

“I believe that even though a very good job has been done to educate people about the Reflections program, we need to do more,” Streaty-Wilhoit said. “I don’t have that audience. Rock Bridge is about 1,500 students strong, so we should get at least 10 percent. That will be our goal next year.”

As for Zhang, the prospect of her poetry going to nationals is daunting, yet also rather inspirational. Though she doubts she’ll get to nationals, Zhang is quite proud that her work has made it as far as it did and is more than happy with her decision to participate in the Reflections program.

“I would encourage others to enter … I’d just say not to procrastinate and get a teacher or friend to look over your work before you submit it,” Zhang said. “Reflections has given me a chance and a reason to spend more time thinking deeply about everything.”

 By Rajesh Satpathy

RBHS Reflections Contest Winners:

  • Makayla Baker
  • Julia Schaller
  • Daphne Yu
  • Joanna Zhang