Tommy Holt, a second grader at Shelton View Elementary, received top honors at the state level in the photography category for his picture, "Honey Makers," and Noelle Kramer, Bear Creek Elementary fourth grader, got first prize for her original composition, "You and I," in the musical division.
The annual Reflections Program is designed to encourage students to use their artistic talents in six arts areas: dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography and visual arts.
All entries are judged on creative ability and interpretation of the current year’s theme. This year, applicants were asked to create works expressing the theme, "Together we can…"
Initially, there were 849 entries submitted by 804 students. Of those, 363 went on to the district level and from there, 46 were chosen to send to the state competition.
There were eight Northshore winners at the state level, including Holt and Kramer, however, only entries receiving "outstanding interpretation" are eligible for nationals.
In explaining his work, Tommy says, "I took this photo because bees work together to make honey for the hive. They work hard all their lives until they die to be nice to the grubs. The bees work together just like the beekeepers who collect the honey for us to buy in the stores."
The 7-year-old saw bees working in a hive at an exhibit in the Pacific Science Center and was inspired to take a picture of them with his digital camera. He adds, "I had to take the picture many times because I wanted to make sure I didn’t get the reflection from the glass."
Though Tommy enjoys photography, his passion is drawing, especially abstract patterns and designs. "I like art," he comments, "and I can spend hours just drawing."
Noelle, on the other hand, is a musician and singer, who plays the lever harp and participates in her school’s choir. In describing her instrument, she says, "It’s very unique and I first heard it when I was on vacation at Table Mountain. I really liked the sound of it and I thought it would be interesting to play. It’s almost as tall as me and has 34 strings and 34 levers that work to sharp the strings."
Noelle began taking lessons on the lever harp last August and notes that the instrument is well-suited for a variety of different types of music.
Her Reflections piece, "You and I," is an original kids’ folk melody, which took her weeks to compose. She says, "I had been working on a piece before Reflections, but when I decided to enter the contest, I changed it to fit the theme. It’s about how people can work together to change their community and the world around them."
The 10-year-old is no stranger to Reflections, having entered the contest three times in the past several years, but this is the first time her entry went beyond the school level.
"I was really surprised to hear that it did so well," she admits. "I didn’t expect it to go so far, but I’m very excited." She is quick to add, "It’s not about the contest for me. It’s more about testing my abilities and proving what I can do, plus it’s just a good way to express myself."
Noelle’s and Tommy’s entries will join other winning entries from every state across the country to be judged at the national level in June. "Reflections is a wonderful program," comments Melissa Graham, Northshore PTSA Council Reflections chair. "It’s a serious contest with rules to follow, but within the guidelines, students are encouraged to stretch themselves creatively and express themselves. Many put a lot of thought into their work and produce high quality pieces. It’s a great opportunity for them to excel in the arts, and to be recognized for their abilities."