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Lehi student artists win awards; Van Cott advances to national competition



Megan Wallgren | Lehi Free Press

Artistic talent and hope for the future is high in Lehi schools, where entries into the PTSA Reflections art contest were among the highest in the state. Several Lehi students were honored as winners at the state level, and one talented student will go on to compete at the national level.

According to Region 9 PTSA Reflections Specialist Julie Wilford, there were 16,212 entries in Utah this year. Region 9, encompassing Alpine School District, received 3,678 entries, over 20% of the state’s total. Two Lehi elementary schools, Belmont and Snow Springs, were in the top six for participation in the state. 

The national reflections programs started 50 years ago. What sets it apart from other art contests is that it’s centered around a theme. The artist is judged on both their technical merit and their interpretation of a student-chosen theme. This year’s theme was “I am Hopeful Because…” Students submitted entries in one of several categories, including Film Production, Music Composition, Visual Arts, Dance Choreography, Literature and Photography.

Awards are given in the Primary, Intermediate, Middle School, High School and Special Artist Divisions depending on student grade level. 

This year’s Lehi area state-level winners are:

● Avery Van Cott, Freedom Elementary School, Award of Excellence for Dance Choreography, Intermediate division;

● Elisabeth Merrill, Viewpoint Middle School, Honorable Mention for Film Production, Middle School division;


● Rowan Pheysey, Lehi Junior High School, Award of Merit for Photography, Middle School division; and

● Miriam Brandt, Skyridge High School, Award of Merit for 2D Visual Art, High School division. 

Van Cott’s dance choreography entry, “Highs and Lows,” will go on to compete in this year’s national PTA Reflections Contest. She was previously a 2020-21 national winner in the same category.

The PTSA Reflections art contest has been going on for over 50 years. 

“It was developed in 1969 by Colorado’s PTA President Mary Lou Anderson. She wanted to encourage students to explore their talents and express themselves,” said Wilford. “It’s a way for kids to express themselves and get recognized in areas other than sports or academics.”

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