San Marino Unified School District students shined last Saturday when they put their artistic and creative talents on display at the annual 2023-2024 Reflections Art Showcase at the district office.
In answering the prompt “I am hopeful because,” children responded with touching and insightful creations in categories that included visual arts, dance, music, photography and film. Some students submitted artwork for multiple categories in their grade.
PTA Reflections chair Yvonne Cheng said how proud she was of the students and to have been able to lead the Reflections effort this year, emphasizing her belief in the importance of the arts in public schools.
“The main reason why I agreed to be the PTA Council Reflections chair this year (despite being very google doc-challenged) is because I believe in the importance of VAPA (Visual Arts and Performance Arts) in our school curriculum,” she said. “We all know the rigors and pressures of being part of an academically competitive school district, but not every child is destined to be a doctor, scientist or lawyer.”
Not only do the arts encourage children to become more well-rounded adults, she added, they also provide a much-needed outlet for expression.
“Some students are struggling to stay afloat, some are going through mental health issues, some are having trouble at home, and our kids need a creative outlet to express their thoughts and feelings,” she said.
Cheng observed her daughter, Naomi Chen, over the years at SMUSD schools who jumped at the chance to participate in the Reflections showcases and fealt proud to take home prizes amid positive feedback from the judges. Art class became her daughter’s refuge, Cheng said, and a place to feel relief by expressing herself amid middle school difficulties. Now a senior, Naomi Chen participated in her fourth and last Reflections contest last week, winning in the Visual Arts Category.
Cheng praised SMUSD arts for helping her daughter become the grounded and confident young woman she has grown into and encouraged others to support the programs.
“I am so glad to be a part of the PTA, so honored to be the Reflections chair this year, and so grateful my daughter was able to overcome her troubles by creating art,” she said. “Please support the arts by donating to the Visual Arts and Performance Arts or volunteering for VAPA events.”
First published in the Nov. 17 issue of the San Marino Tribune