Students reflect on heroes

Brothers, Sharky, 7, left, and Ryder Boyd,10, stand by Shary's artwork entitled "My Favorite Heros Don't Wear Capes" at the 50th Annual Reflections Gala held at Meadows Elementary School in Santa Clarita on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Meadows Elementary School student dancers, musicians, photographers, artists and writers participated in Thursday’s 50th annual Reflections ceremony, a National Parent Teacher Association-sponsored program that encourages students to create original works of art.

The local elementary school held its celebratory showcase and reception Thursday in its multipurpose room, which was filled with more than a hundred pieces of art that were created by the Newhall School District students throughout the year.

This year’s theme is “Heroes Around Me,” meaning students were encouraged to create art that illustrates the impactful figures in their lives, according to Christine Zazueta-Brill, a co-chair of Thursday’s program.

It was evident that the theme meant something different to each participant as portraits, statues and other unique artworks that lined the room from end to end showcased parents, first responders, comic book heroes and even wildlife.

Luka Puell-Corea, 10, poses with is statue entitled “Inspiration” at the 50th Annual Reflections Gala held at Meadows Elementary School in Santa Clarita on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Zazueta-Brill said thousands of students across the nation in grades pre-K through high school annually create and submit pieces in one or multiple art categories, including dance choreography, film composition, music, literature, photography and the visual arts.

The entries are reviewed by judges who have experience or a deep knowledge in a particular category, Zazueta-Brill said, adding, “Believe it or not it is a tough job for the judges.”

No matter their placing, each of Meadows’ participants were recognized with a participation award, Zazueta-Brill said, “(because) we see how important it is to our kids.”

“For some of these kids it is their jam,” she added, because they draw at home or sing, but for others, it is an opportunity to explore another part of themselves and then be rewarded for putting themselves out there.

“It is pretty impressive,” Zazueta-Brill said, referring to both the program and the student work. “This is more than an art program. I believe this is actually a skill.”

To comprehend the theme and create art or a vision that conveys a particular message is a talent that working artists or people who write, film or create do everyday, she added.

“We really appreciate all of the kids’ hard work,” co-chair Tiffany Hernandez said prior to the presentation of the participation trophies. “We’re excited to reward them.”

Zazueta-Brill, who was described as passionate in each of the seven years when she’s headed the program, would also be honored during her final event as chair with flowers and cheers.

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