Reflecting on artistic excellence at Reynolds


Photo provided by Grayson Russell

Close up of Russel’s art.

Katie Mohr, Managing Editor

RJ Reynolds is known for its excellence in the arts. As an Arts Magnet school, students are drawn from all across the district to participate in stellar arts programs. Whether it’s photography, theater, piano, guitar, acapella, dance, drawing, or theater, there is no shortage of classes available to enrich yourself in an artistic environment. 

As a celebration of artistic excellence, the National Parent-Teacher organization hosts an annual contest called “Reflections” that invites students from all across the nation to display their talents in the arts – an opportunity perfect for a school like Reynolds. Each year the contest is given a different theme but interestingly enough there is a separate contest for the theme. This year artists have been challenged to create a piece of art that answers the question “I will change the world by…” 

The loan sits in the courtyard on the first floor. (Photo provided by Grayson Russell)

There’s a series of checkpoints that a student must cross in order to be considered a winner. First, each school can submit a total of 30 pieces to the district contest; 14 were sent from Reynolds this school year after a pre-selection round. PTA Vice-President Stephanie Kennedy explained how students are awarded.

Aerial view of the figure. (Photo provided by Grayson Russell)

“District – ribbons and certificates are given to those that place and honorable mentions at recognition ceremony,” Kennedy said. “State level there is a reception with display of artwork in Raleigh. National recognition reception and announcement of National winners for each category.”


Art is judged in each category by teachers and other community leaders for how well the piece represents the theme.

Reynolds has been an avid participant in this contest in the past, and has even been successful in having students that move through the rankings. 

“Over the last few years RJR students always do well with Reflections winners,” Kennedy said. “We had one dance piece last year at Nationals which was very exciting.  Last year many music compositions were placed at States as did a literature piece.”

Students this year were inspired to participate through teachers, the PTA newsletter and social media. However, in past years the contest was incorporated into the curriculum but this year that wasn’t the case and is believed to be why submission numbers were so low.

“The students at RJR are super talented,” Kennedy said. “I wish more would share their talents with the community.”