Several Holladay students are winners in 2023 Utah Reflections contestMay 08, 2023 10:30AM ● By Heather Lawrence
“Butterfly Effect” by Demetria Johnson of Olympus High earned an award of Excellence in the Utah State PTA Reflections contest. (Demetria Johnson/Utahpta.org)
State-level winners of Utah PTA’s 2022-23 Reflections contest have been announced. A celebration and awards night for winners and their families is planned for May 16 in Riverton. Holladay students of all ages entered and won prizes in this year’s contest, responding creatively to the theme “Show Your Voice.”
Roselyn Navaravong of Oakwood Elementary entered in the 3D Visual Art category. Her work, titled “Freedom of Speech,” shows two cranes and a sculpted pair of lips. It won a Merit award at the State level.
“The rainbow colors of papier mâché represent that everyone is different, and the paper cranes represent freedom. Everyone no matter what skin color, race or [belief] should have the right to express their opinions,” Roselyn said.
Lucy Johansen of Driggs Elementary used her entry to illustrate her love of singing. Her 2D Visual Art entry in the Pre-K-Grade 2 Division shows an enthusiastic singer at the center of the canvas and colors emanating out like sunbeams.
Lucy’s Artist Statement, which judges rely on heavily during the contest, was simple: “I can show my voice by singing and spreading happiness.” She won an Honorable Mention.
Wasatch Jr. High had two winners: Nathan Wilkerson Wong in Music Composition and Andrew Bouck in Photography-Special Artist Division.
Nathan’s Merit-winning composition, “Variations on a Story,” is 56 measures long and written for the violin. It changes tempos several times and includes notes on stringing, dynamics and interpretation. He used the differences in music to illustrate different ways to interpret a story.
“My song is split into variations that represent people telling a story in different voices. I started with a simple theme and then made multiple variations that I connected together to compose a song. It shows how there are many ways a story can take shape depending on who is telling it,” Nathan said.
Andrew’s photography entry is a picture of him smiling in the foreground and a classroom C.E.O. description in the background. It received a Merit award and is titled, “I Show My Voice by Being a Leader.”
Andrew explains that C.E.O. is the highest rank he can earn in his class. “When we get to C.E.O. we are a leader in our class. I worked really hard to earn [it]. I want to Show My Voice to tell others that people with disabilities can be leaders.
“I want to help people see that by working hard everyone can make a difference! I took this picture the day I earned C.E.O. and am proud of reaching my goal,” Andrew said.
Olympus Jr. High winner Elise Kimble is no stranger to the Reflections contest and she’s appeared on the winners list before. This year she entered in Photography, and her entry “Statement.” won an Honorable Mention.
Her black and white photograph shows a young woman staring directly into the camera, poised with scissors ready to cut her long, straight hair. Her Artist Statement reveals that in some cases, a haircut can be a protest and a voice.
“Mahsa Amini was a young woman who died in Iran as a result of not wearing her hijab. Thousands of women in Iran have been protesting after her death….They have been burning their hijabs and cutting their hair.
“Now women from all over the world have joined them in protest, and are cutting their hair to show that all women can ‘show their voices.’ This photo is a tribute to all of these brave women. We deserve to make a statement, period,” Elise said.
Olympus High School had two winners: Demetria Johnson in 2D Visual Art and Emma Murdock in Music Composition.
Demetria’s entry shows a teen in a hoodie with her eyes closed. She’s against a dark background that’s illuminated by a shaft of light coming from her mouth. Within the shaft of light are blue butterflies, creating a stark contrast.
“I show my voice both metaphorically and literally. I am screaming because I tend to get angry about what I’m most passionate about and what makes me want to share my voice the most,” Demetria said.
She used butterflies because she’s hoping her passion will be interpreted as gentle by other people. “I want it to be a loving force opposed to forces of fear, represented by the centipedes in the background. The butterflies make them more visible because making the forces behind the negative known is a step to overcoming them and is a focus for me,” Demetria said.
Olympus’ other winner Emma Murdock is a musician who also performed in Concerto Night on March 1. Her composition entry called “Maple Tree” received a Merit award.
Emma’s entry is a recording of “Maple Tree” with Emma singing accompanied by piano. The five-minute song draws a comparison between a fading maple tree the singer sees and her own mental health.
“After Covid hit, I struggled with my mental health sophomore year. I lost value of not only life, but my self-image. It’s hard to see the good in yourself when you’re convinced there is none. This toxic beauty standard has been eating us all alive for years,” Emma wrote in her Artist Statement.
“The only way to love ourselves is to come to terms with ourselves. We stunt our own growth. Here’s me voicing my past struggles through a sad yet hopeful song for the sand and hopeless people. Time to ‘let in the rain.’”
All the winning entries are available to see virtually or listen to on the PTA’s website. Go to www.utahpta.org and find the 2023 winners’ gallery. For those who want to get a jumpstart on next year, the theme for 2023-24 has already been announced. It is “I Am Hopeful Because…” and all entries are now submitted online. λ