Thursday, January 14, 2010

ASD Students Shine at Arts Appreciation Night

This past Tuesday evening we had the pleasure of attending the Arts Appreciation Night held at Muhlenberg Elementary School in the Allentown School District. I am the chair of the Muhlenberg PTA Reflections Art Program and I had the honor of presenting the awards to students. Reflections is a national PTA arts program that recognizes talented students in visual art, music, literature, dance, and photography. Our son Gianni, who is in third grade at Muhlenberg, placed 1st and 2nd in photography, and performed on violin and piano with the school orchestra. And he had the audience laughing during a comedy trick where his hands played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" while his body hid under the piano. He can also play backwards. He's our little Victor Borge ;D

Mr. Flynn, Muhlenberg's tireless and dedicated music teacher does an excellent job with the students, spending time before and after school teaching string lessons and planning events, all in addition to his very demanding daily schedule of teaching music. Mrs. Wolfe, who teaches gifted students, plays violin with the Allentown Symphony, performs with students and teaches a group of talented young musicians. Mr. Groller teaches the school band. Mr. Turton, the principal, sings in a choir and is very supportive of the arts.

Above is Gianni's 2nd place award winning photo "Performing Ducks." Below is Gianni's 1st place award winning photo "Reaching for the Sky." He took these photos at Trexler Park. The tree is the famous old tree located next to the cabin where Gianni and his dad throw pine cones and try to stick them on the roof. Other students entered beautiful photos of our Allentown parks, capturing the colors of the Fall foliage. This year's theme is "Beauty Is...." Congratulations to all the talented student participants, winners, and performers.
This important program for our kids is made possible only because of the work of dedicated parent volunteers, and a dedicated and supportive school staff. The arts are being left behind in public education due to the damaging curriculum mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That's why programs like Reflections are so important to our students. The arts should not be viewed as just enrichment activities for kids, they are integral to the school curriculum and help increase a child's math and reading skills, motivating children to excel in all areas of their lives.