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Their talents shine

June 03, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Parents, fellow students and members of the Washington County Council of PTAs were at E. Russell Hicks Middle School on Wednesday to honor the 58 county students who participated in the 2003-04 Reflections Program.

Three of the students received national awards and helped the county to its best showing in Reflections, a national contest that rewards students' artistic endeavors in several categories, a council official said.

The Council of PTAs presented ribbons to three students for national awards of distinction, 30 students for state awards of merit and 26 for county awards for participation during a brief ceremony.

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Council President Scott Nicewarner said that judging this year's entries was "a blast." He said it was more difficult this year to rank the best student entries because there were so many creative ones.

"They were entertaining. Some of them were just fascinating," Nicewarner said.

Nicewarner said the county, with nine participating schools, this year had its largest number of overall entries and national distinctions in its six years of participation in the program.

According to the National PTA Web site, the program gives students the chance to submit works of art in four areas: literature, musical composition, photography, and the visual arts.

The Reflections Program, started in 1969 in Colorado, is organized by school grade. Works are judged in four categories: primary (pre-school-second grade), intermediate (third-fifth grade), middle/junior (sixth-eighth grade) and senior (ninth grade and above).

Smithsburg Middle School student Megan Jaye opened Wednesday's event by performing the dance routine that garnered her a national award in the middle/junior division.

She was followed by a reading by Teddy Beachley, a Fountaindale School for the Arts student, who earned a national award in the intermediate literature category for his fictional tale of a struggle between three brothers and an evil wizard. Beachley's entry ranked in the top 10 out of 2,400 entries nationally, Nicewarner said.

"One of the great things about this story was the pictures it gave you," Nicewarner said.

Former Fountaindale student Jacob Amontree, a national award winner for photography in the primary category, did not attend the event because he recently moved to Florida, Nicewarner said.

More information on the Reflections program is available at www.pta.org/parentinvolvement/reflections03/about.asp.

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