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[NYPT Fall 2018]

By Melissa Cancro, Programs Coordinator

NYS PTA had a fantastic day celebrating our 2017-2018 Reflections winners! On Saturday, September 29, the Fifth Annual NYS PTA Celebration of the Arts (formerly known as the Reflections Roadshow) was held at the NYS Education Department in Albany.

Forty-one students and their supporters from all over New York were in attendance. The Rotunda was filled with almost 192 people! It was nice to see all the proud parents, grandparents and siblings.

The afternoon was kicked off by the Boy Scouts of America, Order of the Arrow-Kittan Lodge, Twin Rivers Council, Arrowmen Color Guard with the flag presentation.

Three of the National PTA Award winners, Hannah Cheeseman, Lawrence Hon and Keshav Kaushik, led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Singer Kathryn Lee from Shenendehowa High School PTSA sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. She also performed “To Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan.

Secretary and Designated Officer for Programs Helen Hoffman welcomed the students, parents and special guests. This year, our regions received over 2,000 Reflections entries to judge, 419 entries were sent to NYS PTA from the 13 regions. NYS PTA awarded 29 Awards of Excellence and 108 Awards of Merit.

NYS PTA submitted the 29 Awards of Excellence to National PTA for judging in March. In May, National PTA announced that NYS PTA had 8 National PTA winners: 4 Award of Excellence and 4 Award of Merit winners.

Jennifer Childress, Associate for the Arts Office of Curriculum and Instruction, greeted everyone on behalf of the Education Department. Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsky gave a warm introduction to the keynote speaker, 2015 NYS Teacher of the Year and 2016 NEA Foundation Global Fellow Charlie Giglio. He shared an inspiring message on how art enlightens the world. “You, as a young artist, have an important job to interpret for us the world as you experience it, through the medium of your art, without the static the world freely provides.”

During the award presentation, each artist came up to the podium to receive a medallion, while their title of their work and artist statement was read. It was touching to learn how each student interpreted the theme of “Within Reach.”

This event would not be possible without a great team! Thank you to the Programs team: Helen Hoffman, Arts Specialist Alaina Rullo, and Events/Programs Associate Lynnette Degnen-Kolawole. Thank you to our Reflections Committee for all their hard work in planning and helping at the Celebration! Sarah Henris, Kelly Howe, Candy Ditkowski, Richard Gakshteyn, Khaleela Zaman and Kai Zaman get a shout out for all their hard work at the event!

The amazing new Arts Celebration logo was created by Marketing Specialist Mary Sotomayor!

A special thanks goes to President Gracemarie Rozea, Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsky and Operations/Event Manager Carol Raymond.

The Reflections Gallery will be set up at the NYS PTA Convention in November. If you are coming to Convention, please stop by!