On Registering Your School

PhotoPRI - Isabelle Flint, GeoMason - A Reading Soccer Star 40% - cropped from bottom

“A Reading Soccer Star,” by Isabelle F., George Mason ES

National Reflections instructions tell PTAs to register their schools in order to take part in Reflections.

Please ignore this instruction! Our state PTA Reflections chair handles registration for all Virginia schools, so we don’t have to.

So that’s one thing to check off your to-do list.


Training for Reflections Chairs

Within Reach_Hand2, from Refl 2017-18 LogoSo, you’re running your school’s Reflections program and don’t know where to start. Or you’ve done this before, but you’re wondering if there are changes in this year’s contest, or whether there are things you could do better this time around. You’ve come to the right place! Tonight, September 14, the Northern Virginia PTA District is holding a reception and training session for Reflections chairs.

Click below for details:

2017-18 NOVA District Reflections Event_Sept 14, 2017_flyer

If you can’t make it, you can always find information on this website. Or email AlexandriaPTACreflections@gmail.com to ask questions or set up an individual in-person training session.



2017-18 Deadlines


A Reification of Life, by Juliane J., George Washington MS

School deadline: Most schools will have deadlines in October. Check with your school’s Reflections chair to find out when student entries are due to the school contest. If you are a student or parent, this is the deadline that you need to know.

Alexandria PTAC deadline: Nov. 10 (this is when school Reflections chairs must have their schools’ 1st Place entries submitted to the city contest.)

Other NoVa Jurisdictions: Fairfax County’s deadline for accepting school winners is Nov. 9; Arlington’s deadline is Nov. 16. And we’re still waiting on information from Falls Church.

Northern Virginia District Deadline: Dec. 12 (this is when the 1st place winners from the PTA Council contests (Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, and Falls Church) must be submitted to the District).

Virginia State Deadline: Jan. 26 (this is when 1st place district winners’ entries are sent down to Richmond for the state competition).

News Flash for 2017-18 Contest!

Hello, Reflections chairs and supporters! I’m currently at the Virginia state PTA contest, where new Reflections policies have been unveiled. One huge change for 2017-18 does not substantially change the contest, but simplifies the process of administering it:

THERE ARE NO SEPARATE RULES SHEETS FOR EACH OF THE 6 CATEGORIES! The rules sheets have been streamlined into a one-page, two-sided document. So we will have just one rules sheet, and less paperwork for all of us to deal with! Here is the new form:

Those documents are in English (Spanish to come soon) and have been adapted slightly to include Alexandria contact info.

As for the actual rules, most will be about the same as last year. One exception:

In Visual Arts, a digital file of the original art must now be included in the entry.

  • For flat art (for example, paintings, drawings, and collages) the original artwork will still be submitted, but a digital file should be included as well, preferably on a thumb drive. (Student or Reflections chair can scan the art or take a photo of it.)
  • For 3D art, the student will submit the 3D art to the school contest, along with three photos of the artwork (including digital files of those photos). But the entry that is advanced to the Council (Alexandria City) level will include the photos and digital files, not the physical 3D art itself.

As you may recall, a digital file was required for Photography, beginning last year. So now it is required for Visual Arts, as well.

I’ll pass on more information as I get it. We will also have a District (Northern Virginia) deadline very soon, so we can set Council (Alexandria) and Local Unit (school) deadlines.

Stay tuned for more info when I get back into town!

-Cathy Petrini

Alexandria PTA Council Reflections Chair





More Recognition for Alexandria Reflections Winners!


The Children’s Concert at NoVa Community College is tonight, with onstage recognition for Reflections winners! This event is in addition to our formal Reflections Awards Program on March 24. No awards will be given out tonight; this is just a chance for our winners to receive a round of applause from the community.


DATE & TIME: 7:30 pm on Thursday, March 2.

EVENT: The Children’s Concert is specifically aimed at families with kids. It’s not too long, the music is fun and accessible, and many students (some as young as kindergarten) are among the performers, with groups from John Adams, George Mason, and other ACPS schools. This is a FREE concert; bring the whole family, friends, grandparents, teachers, and everyone else! No tickets, registration, or sign-ups required.

LOCATION: Schlesinger Center of NVCC, Alexandria Campus, 4915 East Campus Drive. It’s just off of Beauregard, in the west end of town.

PARKING: When you turn onto the campus from Beauregard, come on up the hill and turn into the parking garage you’ll see to the left. Schlesinger is ahead and to the right, just up from the garage. Parking is FREE during this event; regular parking fees do not apply.

SEATING: There will be a reserved section for Reflections winners and guests. In the past, it was in front on the left (as viewed from the stage). Look around for it and join us there!

STUDENTS BEING RECOGNIZED: Reflections winners will be called onstage as a group, between performances. This includes everyone who won an Alexandria city-level Reflections 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, Honorable Mention, or Directors Award.

ONSTAGE PROCEDURE: Students will be asked to say 4 things:
Name, Grade, School, and Category. For example, my son might say, “I’m Jonathan Petrini, a 9th-grader at T.C. Williams. My award is for Music Composition.” (This is not a high-pressure situation. If a child is stumped, he or she will be prompted. No need for nerves.) The emcee will say nice things about them, and everyone will applaud. Then the kids can go back to sit with their families.

DRESS CODE: There is none, so it’s up to you and your student. Remember that the kids will be onstage. Dressy is fine, if your child is so inclined. Otherwise, I’d suggest to aim for, at least, neat and presentable.

ABOUT LEAVING EARLY: If you have to rush home early to get the kids to bed, please leave AFTER the Reflections recognition, to give your child a chance in the spotlight. It’s usually about halfway through the concert.

This concert is always great fun. I hope you will attend!

Alexandria’s 2016-17 NoVa District Reflections Winners

We have a winner’s list! And twenty ACPS student entries have been named award winners in the Northern Virginia District Reflections contest. Four of the students earned 1st Place awards at the District level for Outstanding Interpretation of Theme; those four entries (in burgundy on the list below) beat out the best that Fairfax and Arlington had to offer, and were advanced to the state contest.

Alexandria’s District winners:


Sophia Marcy, K, MacArthur, “Hall of Fame” (Honorable Mention, Primary)

Ava Marcy, 4th grade, MacArthur, “The Story of My Life” (3rd Place, Intermediate)

Janae Holster, 8th grade, GWMS, “Fragile” (1st Place, Middle School). Janae also won 1st Place in the Virginia State competition and competed in the National contest.)

(Click here to watch the winning dances.)


Wesley Anderson, 2nd grade, Maury, “Picture of Me” (2nd Place, Primary)

Eliza Gwin, 5th grade, Maury, “My Story” (1st Place, Intermediate). Eliza also won 3rd Place in the Virginia State competition.

(Click here to watch the winning films.)


Literature IconLITERATURE

Charlie Lorenz, 2nd grade, MacArthur, “So What Is It?” (3rd Place, Primary)

Rena R. Cooper, 3rd grade, MacArthur, “My Happy New Mommy” (3rd Place, Intermediate)

Madeleine Quill, 8th grade, Jefferson-Houston, “What It’s Like To Be Different” (3rd Place tie, Middle School)

Hannah Miller, 12th grade, TC Williams, “The Black Minivan” (1st Place, High School). Hannah also won 2nd Place in the Virginia State competition.

(Click here to read Hannah’s winning story; links to other literature entries to come.)



Eliza Gwin, 5th grade, Maury, “You Were” (3rd Place tie, Intermediate)

Alexander Toa Tiapula Tuson, 6th grade, GWMS, “My Theme Song” (Honorable Mention, Middle School)

Jonathan Morgan Petrini, 9th grade, TC Williams, “The Plot Thickens” (1st Place, High School)

(Click here to listen to the winning compositions.)



Liam Jovivic Doussard, 1st grade, MVCS, “Paris” (3rd Place, Primary)

Noah Sternberg, 4th grade, MacArthur, “The Camera and Me” (Honorable Mention, Intermediate)

Sarah Devendorf, 8th grade, GWMS, “Incomplete” (3rd Place tie, Middle School)

Fatima Chavez, 12th grade, TC Williams, “El viaje hacia Alegria” (2nd Place, High School)

(Click here to see the winning photos.)


Visual Arts IconVISUAL ARTS

Georgia Crutchfield, 2nd grade, MVCS, “My Life in Clay” (Honorable Mention, Primary)

Kit Vontz, 3rd grade, MVCS, “Chaptors in Kitstory” (3rd Place tie, Intermediate)

Julianne Joven, 8th grade, GWMS, “A Reification of Life” (3rd Place, Middle School)

Ava Benbow, 10th grade, TC Williams, “Self Portrait” (Honorable Mention, High School)

(Click here to see the winning Visual Arts pieces.)


Northern Virginia District Reflections is a highly competitive contest, with our students’ work evaluated against the best entries from Arlington and from each of the five regions of Fairfax County. The District covers about 200,000 students, and 117 (from all jurisdictions) won District awards, so this is a big deal. Click here to see the whole District winners list.

Congratulations to all of Alexandria’s District winners, with a special shout-out to our 1st-Place winners — Janae, Eliza, Hannah, and Jonathan — and another special shout-out to Eliza, for winning TWO District awards.










Earth Day Art Contest! Spread the Word!

earth-day-logoReflections Chairs and artistic K-12 students: Have you heard about the Earth Day art contest?

Would you like to see your own (or your students’) artwork on posters, t-shirts, advertisements, and other promotional material?

Alexandria Earth Day 2017 has put out a call for entries in a competition to choose artwork for publicizing the event.

The theme: Clean Water Starts with YOU!

The City of Alexandria’s Earth Day celebration will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017.
The Earth Day Planning Committee is excited to utilize the talents of all students in Alexandria, grades K-12, to design artwork to help publicize the event. The selected artwork will be printed on Earth Day t-shirts, posters, fliers, and advertising to donors, and will be posted on the Earth Day website: https://www.alexandriava.gov/EarthDay for all to see!

Deadline for Submission is noon on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

Students should create artistic desigsn from their own understanding of the role that each individual has in keeping our world’s most precious resource clean. Be creative! The field is wide-open to students’ imagination. There should not be any text in the artwork, but instead, an artistic representation of “Clean Water Starts with YOU!”

How do “YOU” help keep our waterways clean? Cleaning up waterways, picking up after your dog, not littering, managing storm water, and spreading  awareness that items entering your waterways via storm drains and toilets? These are all environmental choices that you can make to help keep Alexandria’s waterways clean and safe.

The artist should also include a short paragraph with the artwork describing the relationship between the design and the theme. The Earth Day Planning Committee will select the winning artwork based upon creativity, content, composition, and relationship to the message, combined with the artist’s explanation of his or her design.


  • The artwork can be created either by hand or with a computer.
  • Although there are no color limitations or restrictions, please keep in mind that a simple, bold graphic design is best; complicated designs do not transfer well onto the silk-screens used for t-shirt production.
  • The artwork should not include any text whatsoever.
  • The artwork must be original in concept and not violate U.S. Copyright Law.
  • The student’s full name, grade, and school should be printed legibly on the back of the artwork.
  • There are no size requirements; the artwork will be resized as necessary depending on its usage.
  • Media:

The artwork that is selected may be reproduced in both color and black & white for various advertising purposes. The Earth Day Planning Committee reserves the right to make slight modifications, if necessary, to accommodate the addition of City logos, text about the event, etc.

The artist will be recognized in the Earth Day program. A collection of submitted artwork will be on display at the Earth Day celebration, and in Alexandria’s City Hall the week prior to the celebration. Artwork will be returned to the schools during the month of May.

Submission Information:

Artwork must be received by Lee Ann Tardieu no later than noon on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

Submissions may either be scanned and emailed to lee.ann.tardieu@acps.k12.va.us or kept at the front office of each school for collection.

If you have any questions, please contact Lee Ann Tardieu at: lee.ann.tardieu@acps.k12.va.us

Reflections Chairs: Please spread the word to your schools!


2016-17 Alexandria Reflections Winners

We have a winners’ list! But first, a description of our award designations:

  • 1st Place = Outstanding Interpretation of Theme
  • 2nd Place = Award of Excellence
  • 3rd Place = Award of Merit
  • HM = Honorable Mention
  • Dir = Director’s Award (awarded at the discretion of the contest director to recognize deserving work that was not singled out by the judges.

The 1st Place entries have been advanced to the Northern Virginia District contest and are now being evaluated by the District judges, alongside entries from Fairfax and Arlington. Expect District results in early February.

And now, here are the 2016-17 PTA Reflections results for Alexandria, by arts category. These entries and all others that were advanced to the city contest are currently on display in the Alexandria Reflections Art Show at the Durant Center, through mid-May.

This list also includes information about Alexandria’s NoVa District and Virginia State winners. Congratulations to all of our talented students!

Dance IconDANCE CHOREOGRAPHY (Click here to view the 1st-Place winning dances!)
1st  Sophia Marcy (K) MacArthur – “Hall of Fame” (Honorable Mention in the NoVa District contest)
2nd  Gabriel Pacini (K) Maury – “Samba”
3rd  Mahri Jahi (K) Mt Vernon – “The Flower”

1st  Ava Marcy (4th grade) MacArthur – “The Story of My Life” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd  Michael Jantson (3rd grade) Mt Vernon – “Funky Life”

Middle School
1st  Janae Holster (8th grade) GWMS – “Fragile” (1st Place in both the NoVa District and the Virginia State contest!)

Film IconFILM PRODUCTION  (Click here to watch the 1st-Place winning film entries)
1st  Wesley Anderson (2nd grade) Maury – “Picture of Me” (2nd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd  Atanas (Taso) Janevski (1st grade) Mt Vernon – “Adventure at School”
3rd  Laila Gaines (1st grade) MacArthur – “Summertime Story”

1st  Eliza Gwin (5th grade) Maury – “My Story” (1st Place in the NoVa District contest; 3rd Place in the Virginia State contest)
2nd  Kit Misha Vontz (3rd grade) Mt Vernon – “Just Like Us”
3rd  Gabriella Sofia Tiapula Tuson (3rd grade) Charles Barrett – “The Story of My Tree”

Literature IconLITERATURE
1st   Charlie Lorenz (2nd grade) MacArthur “So What Is It?” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd(tie)   Lucy Hunnicutt (2nd grade) John Adams “What I Like Is My Story”
2nd(tie)   Saha Irwin (1st grade) Jefferson-Houston “My Story”
3rd   Anna Snyder (2nd grade) Mt Vernon “The Fairy Who Didn’t Know How to Fly”
HM   Wesley Anderson (2nd grade) Maury “Poum”
HM   Zoe Lee (K) James Polk “My Family”

1st   Rena Cooper (3rd grade) MacArthur – “My Happy New Mommy” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd(tie)   Nina Wolf (3rd grade) Mt Vernon – “I Am”
2nd(tie)   Julia Malleck (5th grade) Maury – “Not Shell Guy”
3rd   Skye Witmer (4th grade) Jefferson-Houston – “My World”
Dir   Bethany Panza (3rd grade) George Mason – “Me”
Dir   Sydney Payne (5th grade) Charles Barrett – “No Matter What”
Dir   Naima Shabazz (4th grade) James Polk – “Sunrise”

Middle School
1st   Madeleine Quill (8th grade) Jeff-Houston – “What It’s Like To Be Different” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd   Leah Beth Devendorf (6th grade) GWMS – “Unfocused”

High School
1st   Hannah Miller (10th grade) TC Williams – “The Black Minivan” (1st Place in the NoVa District contest; 2nd Place in the Virginia State contest)

Music IconMUSIC COMPOSITION (click here to listen to the 1st-Place winning compositions)
1st   Nora Beekman (2nd grade) Mt Vernon – “In the Sky”

1st   Eliza Gwin (5th grade) Maury – “You Were” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd   Kit Misha Vontz (3rd grade) Mt Vernon – “A Song for Thalia”
3rd   Patrick Ostermann-Healey (4th grade) MacArthur – “Patrick’s Day in Music”
HM   Eliana Rougle (4th grade) James Polk – “Truly Me”
Dir   Gabriella Tuson (3rd grade) Charles Barrett – “A Busy Day”

Middle School
1st   Alexander T. Tiapula Tuson (6th grade) GWMS – “My Story” (Honorable Mention in the NoVa District contest)

High School
1st   Jonathan Morgan Petrini (9th grade) TC Williams – “The Plot Thickens” (1st Place in the Northern Virginia District contest)

1st   Liam Jovovic Doussard (1st grade) Mt Vernon – “Paris” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd   Gavin Zuiselsberger (1st grade) Charles Barrett – “All About Me”
3rd   Isabelle Flint (1st grade) George Mason – “A Reading Soccer Star”

1st   Noah Sternberg (4th grade) MacArthur – “The Camera and Me” (Honorable Mention in the Northern Virginia District contest)
2nd   Victoria Patrick (4th grade) Charles Barrett – “Art”
3rd(tie)   Genevieve Watkins (4th grade) Maury – “What’s Down the Tracks”
3rd(tie)   Alice Ward (3rd grade) Mt Vernon – “Sand”
HM   Lucien Andrews (3rd grade) Jefferson-Houston – “Nature Me”
HM   Adelaide Flint (3rd grade) George Mason – “My Own Little World”
HM   Charles Sokolove (5th grade) James Polk – “Story of Me!”

Middle School
1st   Sarah Devendorf (8th grade) GWMS – “Incomplete” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)

High School
1st   Fatima Chavez (12th grade) TC Williams – “El Viaje Hacia Alegria” (2nd Place in the NoVa District contest)

Visual Arts IconVISUAL ARTS
1st   Georgia Crutchfield (2nd grade) Mt Vernon – “My Life in Clay!!!” (Honorable Mention in the NoVa District contest)
2nd   Saha Irwin (1st grade) Jefferson-Houston – “Family Building”
3rd   Brooke Hunnicutt (2nd grade) John Adams – “I Love Nature”
Dir   Christopher Ramirez (2nd grade) Cora Kelly – “The City”

1st   Kit Misha Vontz (3rd grade) Mt Vernon – “Chapters in Kitstory” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd(tie)   Emily Brennan (5th grade) James Polk – “My Growing Story”
2nd(tie)   Giselle Hughes (4th grade) Charles Barrett – “A Map of My Story”
3rd   Maya Hayes (4th grade) MacArthur – “Animals All Around Me”
HM   Chloe Adams (3rd grade) George Mason – “My Cultures”
Dir   Isabella Phillips (4th grade) Jefferson-Houston – “Great Grandpa”

Middle School
1st   Julianne Joven (8th grade) GWMS – “A Reification of Life” (3rd Place in the NoVa District contest)
2nd   Morgan Drake (7th grade) Jefferson-Houston – “Different”

High School
1st   Ava Benbow (10th grade) TC Williams – “Self Portrait” (Honorable Mention in the NoVa District contest)

Are We There Yet?


Music Is Joy and Fun, by Alexis M., Mt Vernon Community School

Hello, PTA Reflections Chairs, Entrants, and Parents!

You may be wondering when you’ll hear the results of the city’s Reflections contest. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re close!

The judging has been completed. I’m advancing Alexandria’s 1st-Place entries to the Northern Virginia District contest this Friday. So I do have a winners list, but it’s still tentative. Sorting through the entries in preparation for advancing them sometimes turns up issues that could change the results, so I’d rather not announce the winners until afterward. Expect to hear something next week.

In the meantime, I will tell you that 12 ACPS schools took part in the PTA Reflections contest this year (though one of them received no entries at all; we’ll work with that school to see if that contest can be revitalized for next year.) But many Alexandria schools have thriving Reflections programs. The 11 schools that received entries had a total of 622 entries submitted! Several schools were standouts in terms of the number of entries received. The top four schools, with the number of entries received:

  • Cora Kelly, 90
  • Maury, 93
  • GWMS, 108
  • Mt Vernon 149

The 11 participating ACPS schools advanced a total of 69 1st-Place entries to the city’s contest. Of those 69, it looks like 21 are 1st-Place winners at the city level and will move on to the District!

Stay tuned for the winners list next week!


Student winners at the Alexandria City 2014-15 PTA Reflections awards program at the Durant Arts Center. Photo by Paul Alers.