Reflections Contest

Expression Through the Arts

We invite Cardinal students from all grades to join in participating in this national arts focused contest. Students are asked to create an original work of art in response to a theme. Categories include, dance choreography, music composition, film production, literature, photography, and visual arts. You may enter in multiple categories. Students with disabilities or who receive services under IDEA or ADA: Section 504, may choose to enter in the special artist division or their grade level division.

The theme for this school year is “I am Hopeful Because”

Entries are due November 21st in the library.

Questions? Contact Kara Sweeney ( if you have any questions about this year’s program.

Contest Details

This National Arts contest invites you to show your love for the arts in the categories of dance choreography, music composition, photography, visual arts, literature and filmmaking. Winners will be selected in each arts category in 3 divisions, if applicable: Pre-K-2, 3-5, and special artist.

Students will be celebrated at a school-wide assembly, and first place winners will move on to county and possibly state or national levels.

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, November 21: Reflections Submissions Due in Library for judging
  • Friday, December 15: Cardinal Winners Announced; winners will move to the next stage for further judging (Arlington County)



Take special care with your entry form. Your work, title and artist statement should all closely relate to the theme, I am Hopeful Because. Entries will be judged based on the work and the artist statement in three categories: Interpretation of Theme  (40 points), Creativity (30 points) and Technique (30 points). Your artist statement and title are crucial to your Interpretation of Theme score.

You may enter as many categories as you like and you may enter the same category more than once.  A separate form must be filled out for each entry.

Please turn in your entries to the Reflections box in the library.

See the Virginia District PTA website for additional details.

How You Can Help

Help promote contest participation, collect student entries, facilitate judging, and organize the school awards ceremony.

Contact the program chair(s) if you wish to help.

2023-24 Program Chair(s)

Kara Sweeney (


Previous Years Winners and Honorees

  • 2021: “I will change the world by…”Dance Choreography
    Outstanding Interpretation: Charlotte MurphyIntermediate:
    Outstanding Interpretation: Reva Shukla GorcysFilm Production
    Outstanding Interpretation: Arianna PotterIntermediate:
    Outstanding Interpretation: Charlie Whiteman
    Award of Excellence: Stella Fredricks
    Award of Merit: Jefferson Menjivar
    Honorable Mention: Claire VillellaLiterature
    Outstanding Interpretation: Clara FredricksIntermediate:
    Outstanding Interpretation: Alexander Murphy
    Award of Excellence: Noah Cochran
    Award of Merit: Lillian Brunk, Jordan Leff, Alexander Murphy
    Honorable Mention: Ella Zelenak, Juliana Wyss, Eleanor Goehring

    Music Composition
    Outstanding Interpretation: Lillian Brunk

    Visual Arts
    Outstanding Interpretation: Theo Whiteman
    Award of Excellence: Hope Colomy
    Award of Merit: Devesh Shukla Gorcys, Thomas Wyss
    Honorable Mention: Charlotte Murphy, Quinnley Moss

    Outstanding Interpretation: Celia Kilpatrick
    Award of Excellence: Spencer Hatch
    Award of Merit: Savannah Potter, Eleanor Goehring
    Honorable Mention: Eleanor Sheldon, Nina Poris, Lila Shukla Gorcys,
    Abigail Paige

  • 2020: “I Matter Because…” View award winners and honorees
  • 2019: “Look Within” View award winners and honorees
    Congratulations to McKinley’s Theo Whiteman for receiving the Award of Merit in Film Production at the National PTA level!
  • 2018: “Heroes Around Me” View award winners and honorees
    Congratulations to State-Level Winner Charlie Whiteman, who received the Award of Excellence in Dance Choreography.
  • 2017: “What is Your Story?” View award winners and honorees
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