Programs + Events

Award of Excellence – High School Division: Grades 9-12

Congratulations to the 2020-2021 Reflections Art Program Award of Excellence High School Division recipients!


“United Existence” by Alice Finkelstein

Carlmont High School, Grade 10
Seventeenth District PTA

“In this piece, I express my place in this world and how I come to realize that I matter. At first, I do not understand the role that I have, but then suddenly, I become aware that everyone in this world is interconnected: we rely on each other for help and support, and everyone is capable of making others feel loved, appreciated, and significant. This is the manifestation of why I matter, and why everyone else in this world does. I matter because I have the power to make others matter. Together, we have the power to transform our world.”


“Each Player Matters” by Alexandria (Jordan) Schneider

Laguna Beach High School, Grade 10
Fourth District PTA

“The year 2020 has presented many adversities and tremendous amounts of change. My work presents that each player matters within a team. I chose to display my teammates to show that their actions impact the team significantly. Hence, their efforts have affected me for the better, helping me stay motivated despite the changes.”


“Cafés, Fleeting Smiles, and Why I Matter” by Victoria Lehman

Carlmont High School, Grade 9
Seventeenth District PTA

“‘I Matter Because…’ Three words that had me analyzing what I have done to make myself matter to others. After lots of pondering and pacing, I concluded that I hadn’t done anything to almost everyone and everything in the world. My actions in life, good or bad, have only affected the people around me, so it is doubtful that my actions have impacted you directly.

Everyone has done a random act of kindness in their lives, even if it was just smiling at the young woman in front of you while you waited for your coffee in the morning. Sure, the young woman was probably grateful. She probably smiled back at you before picking up her drink, but your smile, as friendly as it was for her, will not affect anybody else. Fifteen minutes later, the young woman may not even remember that you smiled at her that morning; work filled her head with more pressing matters as soon as she walked into the office. But neither of those reasons discourage us from smiling at the crossing guard as you leave the coffee shop and the other people you made eye contact with while walking down the street.”

Click here to read the rest of this piece.


“Legacy of Sound” by Andrew Lee

American High School, Grade 12
Peralta District PTA

“This composition is my journal. It is a reflection of my personal thoughts and emotions, my interactions with the world, my intermixed cultures, and my growth as a human being. For me, the purpose of life is to influence others. When I see my work touch an audience, it means that I was able to reach them, that my very existence was able to leave an impact on someone else. Therefore, this piece is my attempt to impact others through my self-reflection. My value lies within my legacy, and my legacy lies within my music.”

Listen to Andrew’s music here.


“Perspective” by Aaron McKeeman

Carlsbad High School, Grade 11
Ninth District PTA

“I have a different perspective than a lot of people. That doesn’t make me matter any less. My unique perspective is something I can contribute. I know where I want to go in life, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to get there. I hope everyone can get where they want to go in life because we all have dreams and goals that matter. I matter because of exactly who I am.”

To see a larger version of this photograph, click here.


“Because I Can” by Jungyun (Chloe) Choi

Westview High School, Grade 12
Ninth District PTA

“The boy in an astronaut helmet symbolizes the endless possibilities one has. An individual’s ability to become anything, do anything makes us matter for who we are: our individuality. For the background, I focused on the positive ways I contribute to society (voting, recycling, and spreading kindness) and characteristics that shape who I am (art and learning). For my last Reflection entry, I wanted to create a piece that showcases whom I am while connecting with the viewers. The focus of this piece is to inspire viewers to recognize their uniqueness and their power to create change.”

To see a larger version of this piece, click here.