Student creativity was rewarded at Agoura High School after nine students claimed recognition for their artistic submissions in this year’s PTA Reflections contest.
Three of the nine students earned the Award of Excellence for their submissions in the categories of visual arts, photography and special literature: Jacob Adivi, Dillyn Gold and Maxwell Diamond. Their work will advance to the state competition in April.
The first round of awards in the Reflections contest was held Jan. 8 at the Ventura County Office of Education in Camarillo.
This year’s theme was “Within Reach.”
Jacob Adivi, a senior at the school, submitted a sculpture that depicted children in motion on each finger of a hand.
“When we channel our inner creativity, a child’s worldview is expressed,” he said of his piece. “We all have a childish side that we keep hidden.”
The sculpture, he said, fit the theme since creativity is within reach of everybody.
Jacob said he entered the Reflections competition this year for the first time because of the “impressive art program” at Agoura High. “I did this for the heck of it,” the 17-year-old said, adding that he was thrilled when he found out his sculpture will be judged at the state level.
Dillyn Gold, also a 17-year-old senior, received the top local award in the photography category. Her photograph depicts someone stretching a hand out of the darkness and into the light.
“I wanted this photo to reflect that even in one’s darkness, better things are ‘within reach,’” she said.
Dillyn was not able to attend the ceremony due to illness, but she was happy to hear her photo was a winner.
“Finding out that I moved onto the state Reflections program filled my creative heart with a sense of accomplishment” she said.
Like Jacob, this was the first time that Dillyn had entered the competition. She said that her Advanced Placement photography teacher, Rilee Gardner, encouraged everybody in the class to enter.
Dillyn said she’s been taking photography at Agoura High since her sophomore year.
“My favorite subject to shoot is definitely portraiture,” she said. “People are so diverse and expressive and all photograph so differently, which I love exploring.”
Maxwell Diamond, a 17-year-old junior, will move to the state competition with his poem “Within Reach.”
Diagnosed with apraxia, a motor-speech disorder, Maxwell participated in the special education program until high school, when he asked to take general education classes, said his mother, Laura Gail.
In his poem he writes about his aspiration to become a writer, how he makes characters come to life and how experiencing the world through words is within reach.
The final stanza of his poem demonstrates his appreciation of individuality: “My brother thinks in pictures; But words are my way of speech; if writing is something I want to pursue, I think it’s well within my reach.”
Maxwell’s win this year wasn’t his first. He entered a poem in last year’s program and it also moved on to the state finals.
He said he’s proud of his high school accomplishments.
“I worked very hard to get out of special education,” he said. When he learned his poem was under consideration for the state title in Special Literature, he was said, he knew he was on the right path.
He is now working on a book about an organization that fights evil.
Other Agoura High students that received recognition at the local level of the Reflections program are Merit winners Lydia Whitman, visual arts; Matthew Kuperberg, music; Shane Ryden, photography; and Grant Klass, special photo. Honorable mentions went to Sascha Lanier, film and Hadara Gordon, music.