WEST ORANGE, NJ - Nine West Orange students will be honored by the New Jersey PTA for achievement in the 2016 National PTA Reflections Arts in Education program, at the April 16 Awards Ceremony that is being held in Princeton, NJ. Aside from being honored, they will also be presenting their work. These awards honor imagination, creativity and interpretation of the theme “Let Your Imagination Fly.”

Founded in 1969, the National PTA Reflections program engages nearly 300,000 students and their families in arts education activities each year—encouraging students of all ages and abilities to explore the arts for fun and recognition, according to New Jersey Reflections Chair and West Orange resident Lee Sutton. Through the program, the National PTA, West Orange Council of PTAs, and PTAs across the country “urge” students in preschool through grade 12 to create and submit original works of art in the medium of their choice— dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts, reflecting on a specific theme.

There also is a special artist division option for students with disabilities to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in the program.

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Each year, students are recognized for their “artistic ingenuity” in bringing the year’s theme to life in a way that is personal and meaningful.

The following is a list of the students who will be recognized in April:

  • In Literature, Jeremy Cerruto from Mount Pleasant Elementary has received an Award of Merit for his piece, “Castle Life,” in the Primary Division.
  • Addison Berzolla, from Edison Middle School, has received an Honorable Mention for her piece, “Unfinished Business,” in the Middle School Division.
  • In Photography, West Orange High School student Olivianne Iriarte’s photograph, titled, “Beyond Picasso,” has been recognized with an Award of Merit.
  • Kerby Alphonse, also from WOHS, has received an Honorable Mention for her piece, titled, “Ready for Take Off.”
  • In Dance Choreography, Reagan Edwards, from Pleasantdale Elementary, has received an Award of Merit for her original piece, “Amazing ABC’s,” in the Primary Division.
  • In the Visual Arts Category, Ruth Donagher, from Roosevelt Middle School, has received an Award of Merit for her piece, “Fantasy Inspired,” in the Middle School Division.
  • Kayleigh Jennifer Hulings, from Redwood Elementary, has received an Honorable Mention for her piece, “Making Rainbows out of Rain Drops,” in the Intermediate Division.
  • Also in the Visual Arts Category, West Orange High School student, Aria Dolfo, has received an Award of Excellence for her piece, “Share a Coke in the Sky.”

“As an Excellence winner, Dolfo’s piece will join visual arts pieces from around the country to compete for the top spot,” said Sutton. “On this level, students can win scholarships, travel to National PTA convention, and have their work displayed at the Department of Education, in Washington, DC.”

“This year, we had exceptional submissions from all of the categories and divisions,” Sutton added. “West Orange did extremely well this year. I look forward to next year and hope that we will include Music Composition and Film to our submissions.”

“If last year’s West Orange Reflections show at the High School is any indication, I expect this program to grow and more of our student artists to be recognized and celebrated,” she said.