Stillwater Elementary PTA  2.16.24   •   Serving Duvall & Carnation, WA   •     Riverview School District

Reflecting on Reflections Workshops – a Letter by Liz Vernon

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May 23, 2016

Stillwater Families,

Last week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I worked with the first round of students who signed up for the Reflections Art workshops that are being offered during their lunchtime recess. While there were pieces entered in this past fall’s competition, the Reflections Committee would’ve LOVED to have seen more. To spark even more interest for this next year’s theme of “What is Your Story,” your awesome Stillwater PTSA board decided to try something new by getting students together in a workshop setting to brainstorm and learn more about the competition.

When approached about helping out with Reflections it was a no brainer for me being that I have an art background and degree in Illustration. I was excited to help in any way I could. We met with the same three groups of kids Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

I wanted to reach out to you parents to let you know how blown away I was by your kids. Even on the second day of working with the kids I had some of them telling me that they’d rather do “this” then go out to recess! I had another group of kids who all groaned in unison at the end of one of the sessions because it was time to go.

I was also surprisingly happy to witness pure joy in the eyes of some of the fifth grade boys! Wow! One of them said that he’s already planning on pursuing Animation as a career. Another boy who stood out to me appeared to be the quieter type, but absolutely came alive when I worked with him one-on-one. I discussed his work with him and told him how excited I was to see what would come of the rough drafts he was working on. He was quiet, but displayed this smile that spoke a million words. That smile shouted that he found joy in the character he was creating. That smile took me back to when I was his age and found the joy and fulfillment in creating something.

During these last few days, I felt called to write a little something. As a former art student (and now a mother of 2) I wanted to stress the importance of kids having an artistic outlet. With art classes and instruction taking an even further back seat than I’d even like to say out loud, there is so much being lost. Kids that maybe aren’t running around in a super busy circle of friends might find the most comfort in drawing with their favorite music playing in the background. Others might find that painting could be an escape when experiencing a difficult time. All I know is that having art classes at school and working on things at home proved to be a valuable outlet for me.

I mentioned to some of the older kids that really enjoy being creative to look into getting a sketchbook. For me, it’s always been fun to look back at my earliest sketches and remember the joy I found in drawing. I look forward to showing those books to my kids someday. Please consider encouraging your kids to try something creative over the summer, not only for the Reflections contest, but for something that they could work on in their spare/quiet time.

Thank you,
Liz Vernon
Reflections Co-Chair