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Explore the arts and express yourself!

All CES students are encouraged to participate in the CES PTA Reflections Art Contest.  The theme for 2023-24 is "I am Hopeful Because..."  Use it as inspiration for your creative submissions to this year's Reflections program.

The CES PTA is accepting entries in the following categories:

  • Visual Arts

  • Photography

  • Music Composition

  • Literature / Creative Writing

Volunteer to serve as a 2023-24 CES PTA Reflections Judge.


Reflections is the National PTA program that encourages students to reflect on a specific theme and create original artwork for fun and recognition.  This program provides opportunities for student recognition and access to the arts that boost student confidence and success.

In order to make this contest available to CES students each year, the CES PTA relies on volunteers to run the contest and line up a panel of qualified judges from within our local community - such as teachers at the school or local artists - with expertise in the respective categories to evaluate student entries.

All students in Kindergarten through 6th grade are invited to create theme-based artwork in the categories of literature, musical composition, photography, or visual arts and submit to the PTA Reflections Arts Contest.  This competition encourages students to explore the arts and express themselves by providing positive recognition for their artistic efforts.

How It Works

  1. Students submit their completed work of art with an artist statement to in the Fall.

  2. A panel of judges select winners from the school and forward the winning entries in each age division and art category to the Fairfax County Council PTA.  

  3. Council PTAs select winning entries and submit the winning entries for each age division and art category to the Virginia PTA.  Council PTAs hold Student Awards Celebrations in late winter/early spring.

  4. Virginia PTA selects and submits state winning entries to National PTA to compete against students from across the United States and holds a Student Awards Celebration in April.

  5. National PTA selects and announces winners of the national-level contest in May.


All students participating in the CES Reflections competition have a chance to win prizes from the PTA for each of the entry categories.  Participating students also will receive recognition by the school and the CES PTA via certificate of participation, a Reflections art display in the school, CES morning announcements, PTA communications, and other potential means.

Category winners in our local-level CES contest also will have the chance to move up and compete at the Fairfax County Council of PTAs, Virginia PTA, and National PTA competition levels.  Competitors who reach the National PTA level have the opportunity to win:

  • Outstanding Interpretation Award: $800 Young Artist Scholarship; Gold Medal; Certificate of Outstanding Interpretation; work featured in the virtual exhibition; $200 Prize for Local PTA Unit

  • Award of Excellence: $200 Young Artist Scholarship; Silver Medal; Certificate of Excellence; work featured in the virtual exhibition

  • Merit Award: Bronze Medal; Certificate of Merit; work featured in the virtual exhibition


Students and parents should review the documents in this section to ensure that all requirements are met prior to entering the contest.

Reflections Entry Form (this signed and completed form must be submitted with the artwork): English | Spanish

Reflections Entry Rules:

Special Artist Division Requirements: English | Spanish

2023-24 Reflections Due Dates

  • Oct 1st:       Contest open for students in Kindergarten through 6th Grade.

  • Nov 15th:    Deadline for students to submit entries to CES PTA.

  • Dec 1st:       Reflections Art Show for CES participants - CES winners announced.

  • Dec 15th:    CES 1st place submissions are submitted to Fairfax Council PTA.

  • Jan 17th:     Council winners submitted to Virginia PTA.

  • Feb 20th:     Virginia PTA winners are announced.

  • Apr 13th:     Student Award Celebration (Richmond)

  • May 2024:   National PTA Winners announced.


After following the Reflections entry requirements provided above, students should follow the steps below to submit their Reflections entries to the CES PTA by the November 15th deadline.

  1. Students must download the Reflections entry form above or pick up a paper entry from their Art Teacher.

  2. When filling out the entry form, only fill out the student information section; do not alter the pre-filled PTA section at the top of the form.

  3. The form must be hand-signed by both the student and a parent/guardian.  When the form is completed and signed, take a photo of it or scan it; this is the final version of the entry form that the student should submit during the entry process.

  4. To submit the student's contest entry, choose only ONE of the following methods:

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  • For entries with smaller file sizes, the student or parent/guardian should text or email the entry form and digital artwork together in a single message to with the student's name and grade in the email subject line.

  • The entry form should be saved with the following file name format: studentlastname.firstname.category.grade.entryform (ex: Smith.Joseph.literature.3rd.entryform)

  • The file for the actual art entry should be saved with the following file name format: studentlastname.firstname.category.grade.artwork (ex: Smith.Joseoph.literature.3rd.artwork)

  • If the format of the student's original artwork is NOT digital, then the student must submit a digital photo of the original hardcopy artwork along with the entry form during the online entry process, as a visual reference for the judges.

  • Any artwork originally created in hardcopy format must also be submitted to the main office (attention: PTA) to be saved for potential use at future contest stages (e.g., the county-level competition will required hardcopy submissions).


If none of the above entry submission options work, or to ask other questions, please contact for assistance.


During the evaluation process, judges will consider the following criteria:

  1. Interpretation: How closely the piece relates to the theme, based on the work itself and the artist's statement.

  2. Creativity: How creative and original the piece is in its conception of the theme and its presentation.

  3. Technique: The level of skill demonstrated in the basic principles/techniques of the arts area.


By submitting an artwork to the “National PTA Reflections Program,” entrants accept and agree to be bound by the official rules for participation as well as the entry requirements for their specific arts category and division. Additional state program requirements may apply. Any violation of these rules may, at PTA’s discretion, result in disqualification. All decisions of the reviewers regarding this program are final and binding in all respects. (The “PTA” referred to in these rules include all PTAs reviewing the submission).


1. ELIGIBILITY. Students must participate through a local PTA/PTSA. Each student’s eligibility is determined by the state and local PTA/PTSA. A student may develop an entry inside or outside of school.


2. ARTS CATEGORIES. There are six arts categories—dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts. Students may enter the National PTA Reflections Program in one or more arts categories. See each arts category rules for additional entry requirements.


3. GRADE DIVISIONS. Students may enter in the appropriate division for their grade (Primary: Preschool-Grade 2; Intermediate: Grades 3-5; Middle School: Grades 6-8; High School: Grades 9-12; Special Artist: All grades welcome). The Special Artist Division welcomes students from all grades and abilities and offers non-artistic accommodations (e.g. adaptive technology; transcribing; holding a camera) for students to participate fully in PTA Reflections. Assistants must refrain from being involved in the artistic process (e.g. developing an artist statement, choreography, music lyrics, storyboards, etc.) Student recognition and awards are announced as part of the Special Artist Division.


4. HOW TO ENTER. Entrants must submit their artwork and student entry form to their local PTA/PTSA program according to local and state PTA procedures. Entrants must follow requirements and instructions specific to each arts category and division. Contact local PTA programs for deadlines and additional information.


5. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS. (All participants must also follow arts category and if applicable, Special Artist Division rules) Only new pieces of artwork inspired by the current year’s theme may be submitted. y Each entry must be the original work of one student only. An adult may not alter the creative integrity of a student’s work. Because the program is designed to encourage and recognize each student’s individual creativity, help from an adult or collaboration with other students is not allowed except in the Special Artist Division. Other individuals may appear in or perform a student’s work, but the work itself must be the creative product of one student only. Only one student may be recognized as the award recipient for each entry. See the specific arts category rules and special artist division rules for details. Each entry must contain a title and all entries must include an artist statement. The artist statement communicates what inspired the work, how it relates to the theme, and the content of the work. The statement must include at least 10 words and not exceed 100 words. Use of copyrighted material is prohibited, except for background music in dance choreography and film production entries. If used in dance choreography and film production entries, background music must be cited on the entry form. Plagiarized entries will be disqualified. Use of PowerPoint templates are prohibited.


6. FINALIST SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION. Entries are reviewed at local, regional, state and national levels. Each PTA determines its own reviewers for the program. Entries will be reviewed primarily on how well the student uses their artistic vision to portray the theme, their originality and creativity. The National PTA Reflections® program makes no restrictions on content or subject matter in artwork submitted by the local, regional or state levels. National PTA reserves the right to use its sole discretion in selecting the submissions to be recognized at the national level. Under no condition may parents or students contact a reviewer to dispute the status/score of any entry. Each PTA in its sole discretion will select finalists for exhibition and provide awards/prizes. Awards are announced per local and state procedures. National awards and events are announced in May at


7. OWNERSHIP AND LICENSE. Ownership in any submission shall remain the property of the entrant, but entry into this program constitutes entrant’s irrevocable permission and consent that PTA may display, copy, reproduce, enhance, print, sublicense, publish, distribute and create derivative works for PTA purposes. PTA is not responsible for lost or damaged entries. Submission of entry into the PTA Reflections program constitutes acceptance of all rules and conditions.


8. PARTICIPATING ENTITIES. This program is administered by the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and PTA affiliates. Parent groups not affiliated with National PTA are not eligible to sponsor this program.

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