National PTA Reflections Results for 2020-21

By the Reflections Committee

A total of 13 students from California received recognition for their creative accomplishments from the National PTA Reflections program. You can see a list of all the 2020-21 California Reflections awards here.

National PTA Reflections – Outstanding Interpretation
Mark Wagner
Dance Choreography – Special Artist Division
Dana Hills High School, Fourth District PTA
“I Speak With My Dancing”

Artist Statement: I matter because I am different. I speak with my dancing.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Hailey Johnston
Film Production – Middle School Division
Nick G. Parras Middle School, Thirty-Third District PTA
“I Matter Because I’m Me”

Artist Statement: I Matter Because is a question you ask yourself all the time but you don’t have to have a reason. You matter because you are you and THAT is what matters.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Gabriela Korszyk
Film Production – Special Artist Division
Covina High School, First District PTA
“Meant to Be”

Artist Statement: I matter because I am worth it. God doesn’t make mistakes. I am handicapped but I’m surrounded by loving people and I’m grateful for it. I’m meant to be.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Eva Whittemore
Literature – Primary Division
Dixie Canyon Elementary School, Thirty-First District PTA
“Things My Teacher Should Tell Herself”

Artist Statement: Everybody knows that teachers matter, but teachers may not know how much they matter. I named my poem “Things My Teacher Should Tell Herself” because it’s hard to do school over zoom and some of the work is hard to do alone. My teacher should tell herself that she’s doing her best.








National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Amira Olin
Literature – Middle School Division
Walter Reed Middle School, Thirty-First District PTA
“Equity, Equality, Discord and Disunity”

Artist Statement: This poem expresses the importance of not allowing race, color, image, gender and other differences separate or hinder us individually and as a group. It urges us to speak up and standup for what is right or what we believe in. We should all strive for equality, inclusivity and equity for a better society because we are all of one world. I matter because I represent society in a world full of disparity. I matter because I exist. I matter because we matter!








National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Lukas Shen
Photography – Middle School Division
Foothills Middle School, First District PTA
“Mitakuye Oyasin”

Artist Statement: Mitakuye Oyasin is a phrase from the Lakota language that my dad introduced me to. It means “we are all related”. I was looking through a photography magazine, and I saw a picture of a Native American with war paint. I created a graphic of different colored lines, each representing a different ethnicity. With a black background behind me, I projected the graphic on my face and used a remote to take this self portrait. We’re all related because all ethnicities make up the human race.


National PTA Reflections – Award of Excellence
Kotaro Fujita
Photography – Special Artist Division
South High School, Thirty-Third District PTA
“Because I am a Japanese American”

Artist Statement: This family photo of my parents, sister and my hand. My parents came from Japan 30 years ago. I was born in the United States. I love both America and Japan. I want to be a bridge between the two Countries.






National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Islelamia Bruner
Dance Choreography – Middle School Division
Mountainview Elementary School, Thirty-Fourth District PTA

Artist Statement: I Matter Because this year has been a struggle for my culture. The Hate that we are given, has torn me apart. I just want this dance to let people know that we won’t go silent until our voices are heard. Let this dance give a message of where we have come from and we have always stood for Freedom. All lives do matter, but we are not added to that equation all the time. We won’t go silent.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Alice Finkelstein
Dance Choreography – High School Division
Carlmont High School, Seventeenth District PTA
“United Existence”

Artist Statement: 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.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Namya Jha
Film Production – Primary Division
Foster City Elementary School, Seventeenth District PTA

Artist Statement: I made this movie based on the topic – “I matter because……”. It was such a fun to do it with my family (my Mom and Dad gave the voices for Mumma and Daddy Dogs 😀 ). It was pretty hard work to write story, script, dialogues and finally recording, editing, setting up background music and images but I enjoyed it a a lot.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Alexandra (Jordan) Schneider
Film Production – High School Division
Laguna Beach High School, Fourth District PTA
“Each Player Matters”

Artist Statement: 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.

National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Sivaluxmy Sivalogeswaran
Music Composition – Primary Division
Northwood Elementary School, Sixth District PTA
“You know that I matter for everything”

Artist Statement: This year, the number of natural disasters has increased in the US. I live in San Jose, California. I experienced earthquake, wild fire, air pollution, and global warming. I am not able leave my house because of Covid-19 and smoke from the wildfire. But, staying inside my house is also not safe when there is an earthquake. I am a little girl I have lots of dreams. When I grow up I will invent new technologies to solve all these problems to make this world a safe place for all. Therefore, I matter to this world now more than ever.







National PTA Reflections – Award of Merit
Ellie Lam
Music Composition – Intermediate Division
Longden Avenue Elementary School, First District PTA
“A Ripple of Kindness”

Artist Statement: I matter because I make a difference to the world by smiling, caring for others, and showing them kindness. This is especially important during the pandemic, where a lot of people are losing their jobs and loved ones. Smiling, caring for others, and showing kindness can make a person feel better about themselves throughout the day. By showing others you care, that person will in return pay it forward to others, creating a ripple effect and making the world better. I wrote this song to dedicate it to those who lost their jobs and loved ones.