The U.S. Department of Education’s Student Art Exhibit Program partnered with the National PTA Reflections program for the sixth time to host the opening of a new exhibit at the Department’s headquarters titled "Diversity Means." For the past 44 years, the Reflections program has allowed millions of students across the country and at American schools overseas to unite around a common theme and compete in one of six mediums: dance choreography, film production, music composition, literature, photography, and visual arts.
Guests attending the exhibit opening included student Reflections winners, families of the students, local and national PTA members and staff, teachers, Department of Education staff, and arts enthusiasts. Student winners traveled from Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and North Carolina, as well as nearby Maryland and Virginia to be honored in Washington D.C. For many of the students in attendance, this was their first time visiting the nation’s capital and an experience of a lifetime.
The audience welcomed national award-winning student performers Racquel Charles and Polly Moser. Racquel, now in her first year of college pursuing a degree in pharmacy, choreographed a dance titled "True Colors" and performed it with classmate Tija Passley. Expressing her vision of diversity, Racquel’s dance involved two high school students — one character symbolizing "popularity" and the other "insecurity." "The overall message is to express the importance of standing tall and being proud of who you really are, Racquel relayed to the audience before the performance. "It is because of our differences that we come together and explore each other’s styles and cultures."
Polly, a 12-year-old middle school student, was excited to be in Washington because one day she hopes to serve her country by working in government. A talented pianist, Polly played her music composition, "The Flow of Water." "My piece helps to illustrate that everyone is different and unique in their own way but, just like water, we are all flowing through the land and through life to the same place," she said in introducing the piece. Both performances received standing ovations.
Program speakers included Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Delisle, National PTA President Betsy Landers, PTA Reflections program Chair Cindy Dearing, and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) CEO Jonathan Katz. Each of them congratulated the students on their interpretations of diversity and provided their perspectives on how the arts encourage diversity and on arts education’s profound impact on the students who create and those who view their creations.
The program speakers, teachers, and special guests shared these reflections on the exhibit opening and the importance of the arts in education. Read their comments here.
From the performances at the opening and the artwork hanging in our headquarters' lobby, the Reflections winners demonstrate not only high achievement in the arts and other core subjects, but also the qualities needed for success in school and in life—expertise in communication, collaboration, problem solving, decision making, divergent thinking, creativity, and innovation. They represent, clearly, the country's proud future.
Click here to view additional photos from the event.
The Department’s Student Art Exhibit Program provides students and teachers an opportunity to display creative work from the classroom in a highly public place that honors their work as an effective path to learning and knowledge for all. To visit the exhibits or for information about exhibiting, contact Jackye Zimmermann at 202-401-0762 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow all the news about Pets, Education and Child Health by subscribing to my articles. Click on the "Subscribe" button, or here: http://www.examiner.com/user-bmader.