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Harshtha Chander earns national-level award in Reflections arts contest

MADISON – Harshtha Chander has earned honors at the national level in the National PTA Reflections fine arts contest.

Chander, a student at Heritage Elementary School, won the Award of Excellence in the intermediate division for grades 3-5 in Dance Choreography. This year, only one other student from Alabama qualified for national honors in Reflections.

Her entry, “Who We Are, What We Can Be!,” in dance interpretation used music from two movies: “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” and “You and Me” from “Descendants 2.”

“I dedicated (my) dance to all the kids who are victims of bullying,” Chander said. “When someone discourages you, show them who you are and what you are capable of. ‘Look within’ yourself, realize your strengths, develop your own beliefs, and build courage to create your own way! Learn from the past and leave fear to build a successful future.”

“I choreographed this dance based on a mix of Indian classical dance (bharatanatyam), hip hop and ballet movements,” Chander said. “I used hand gestures called ‘mudras’ in Bharatanatyam to enact some of the expressions for the lyrics.”

As an Award of Excellence winner, Chander earned the Young Artist Scholarship for $200, silver medal and certificate of excellence. Her recorded work will be featured in a traveling exhibition for Reflections.

Each year, local PTA members invite students in pre-kindergarten through high school seniors to participate in the Reflections program. Students create and submit original works of art in the categories of Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography and Visual Arts.

Based on state PTA rules and guidelines, local contest coordinators can submit these works of art for state and national level awards and recognition opportunities. For the national-level submissions, more than 200 students participating in Reflections will receive the following awards from National PTA and have their work feature in the traveling exhibition:

* Merit Award — Bronze Medal, Certificate of Merit.

* Award of Excellence — $200 scholarship, Silver Medal, Certificate of Excellence.

* Outstanding Interpretation Award — Young Artist Scholarship for $800, Gold Medal, Certificate of Outstanding Interpretation, $200 prize for local PTA unit.

National PTA plans to curate artwork for the traveling exhibit this fall for showcasing January 2021 at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. and June 2021 at National PTA’s Convention & Expo in Grapevine, Texas.

For more information, visit pta.org/home/programs/reflections.

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