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PTA National Reflections Contest

2023-2024 Reflections contest theme:  I Am Hopeful Because...

What is PTA Reflections?

Reflections is an arts program sponsored by the national PTA to give positive recognition to artistic efforts. Camelot ES students may enter one original work in one or more of the following categories: Visual arts (painting, drawing, collage, etc.), photography, music composition, literature, dance choreography, film production, plus a special artist category for students with special needs. See a video highlighting the program. 


Artworks interpret a different theme each year.  The PTA Reflections Theme for the 2023-2024 school year is “I Am Hopeful Because...”  Entries will be judged on interpretation of theme, creativity, and technique in each category.  Winners may go on to county, district, state and national competitions for awards. 


Our school competes in 3 grade divisions: K – 2nd Grade, 3rd – 5th Grade, 6th – 8th Grade, and a Special Artist Division (for special needs students who choose not to enter by grade division). All first place (Outstanding Interpretation of Theme) winners of each category and division will advance on to the County (District). A first place win in the County advances to the Northern Virginia competition. From there it goes to State and then National competitions.

Our school will have a special celebration to display and celebrate our entries and to award the prizes for the winners of each category.


To Enter

Find all the guidelines here (en Espanol) and the entry form in the Google Drive Folder 

This entry form must be completed by an individual aged 13 or older.  There will be a collection box at school for physical entries - artwork in any media and literature entries or you can upload digital files in our Google drive  or email them to (See digital file formats and other instructions specific to each category listed under Rules/Digital File Requirements below).  


A separate entry form must be completed for each category a student participates in. One entry per division per category per student. If you submit digitally, please keep original copies of artwork as it may be requested if submission advances to State and National competition. 

Spend some time filling out the Artist's Statement to describe your work and why you were inspired to create it. This can be the difference that makes your entry stand out.

Entries are due Tuesday, November 28, 2023. 

Questions can be directed to Alison Paddock or Nicole , our PTA Reflections Chairperson 


Rules/Digital File Requirements

Please use the following file naming instructions to ensure that we can match your student's entry to their art.

Format: last name - first name - category.file extension. 

For example: smith-jane-visual-arts.png   smith-nate-literature.pdf

Literature: Accepted forms of fiction and non-fiction include: Prose, poetry, reflective essay, screenplay and play script, narrative and short story.  Maximum of 2,000 words. Must be in PDF format.

Music Composition: All music styles and combination of instrumentation are accepted.  Entrant must be the composer and may also be the performer or one of the performers.  Use of copyrighted material is prohibited. Maximum audio recording length of 5 minutes and file size of 1 GB. Must be in MP3, WMA, WAV, ACC, or FLAC format. (Middle school division [6th grade] must also submit notations/scores in PDF format. Accepted notations/scores: traditional or tablature music score/notation or a written reflective statement that provides a musically technical explanation of how the music was created (100 words or less).

Photography: Photo must be a single print or digital image. Collages and collections of photos are not accepted. Entrant must be the photographer and may use a variety of digital editing techniques including, but not limited to, multiple exposure, negative sandwich and photogram. Submission must be at least 640 x 960 pixels and 300 dpi resolution. Must be in JPEG, JPG, or PNG format.

Visual Arts: Works of both fine and design arts are accepted, including, but not limited to: architectural drawing and models, ceramics, collage, computer generated images and graphics, crafts, drawing, fashion clothes and jewelry, fiber work, mixed media, painting, printmaking and sculpture.  Use of copyrighted materials is prohibited.  2D artworks must be mounted on sturdy material and no larger than 24" x 30" with matting. Submission must be at least 640 x 960 pixels and 300 dpi resolution. One photo should be submitted for 2-D art. 3 photos (from different angles) should be submitted for 3-D art.  Must be in either JPEG, JPG, or PNG format.

(A more detailed list of rules/recommendations for each category in English and Spanish can be found at VA PTA)

Evaluation Criteria

All PTA Reflections program entries are judged on three criteria:

  1. Interpretation of Theme (20 pts.) - How closely the piece relates to the theme, based on the work itself and the artist's statement.

  2. Creativity (10 pts.) – How creative and original the submission is.

  3. Technique (10 pts.) – Skill-level demonstrated


Title of Artwork and student’s Artist Statement: Provide insight on the student’s artistic style/genre and materials used when exploring the arts category.  The artist statement is another opportunity to sell the work’s connection to the theme.  


Additional Artwork Details: Artwork details should offer information related to cited material (submission size/length, word count etc.)


Prior Year Results

A shout out to each of the following students for their creative submissions in Visual Arts, Literature, and Film interpreting the 2020-21 theme “I Matter Because…”:


Intermediate (3rd-5th grade)

Visual Arts

Morgan Lee (Outstanding Interpretation of Theme – 1st place Camelot ES)


Keira Conley (Outstanding Interpretation of Theme – 1st place Camelot ES; Fairfax County - 3rd place).  


Middle School (6th grade)

Visual Arts

Minh (Alex) Nguyen (Outstanding Interpretation of Theme – 1st place Camelot ES )



Natalie Stebbins (Outstanding Interpretation of Theme – 1st place Camelot ES, Fairfax County, and NOVA District, ***3rd Place Virginia*** ) See (min 2:41) 2020-21 VA State PTA Reflection winners – hyperlink to
Jake Themely (Award of Excellence Camelot ES – 2nd place

Screenshot 2023-09-19 at 2.56_edited.png

To Enter

Drop your form and work in the box at school or uploead your digital entry in the Google Folder 

Entries are due Tuesday, November 28, 2023. 

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