Seventeen students in Glendale Unified's special education program earned awards from the Glendale Council Parent Teacher Assn. for their artistic efforts as part of the National Reflections Contest during a school board meeting last week.
The students ranged in age from 7 to 20 years old, with most hailing from College View School, though Glendale High, John Muir Elementary and Roosevelt Middle School also boasted winning participants.
In addition, College View's Corky O'Rourke, the school's teacher on special assignments and special projects, was honored for her advocacy.
"Arts are so incredibly important, not just doing the art itself, but what they also bring to other studies," said Bita Mathews, a Glendale Council PTA member and Reflections contest chair.
The competition ran from August through September, and this year's theme was "Within Reach."
There is also a Reflections contest for students throughout the district, and those students will be honored soon.
Of the 17 honors handed out, 16 were given awarded for visual arts, while Roosevelt 11-year-old Justice Reign Killebrew was recognized for his literature entry, titled "Within My Reach: Attainable Goals."
Killebrew's work was the only local entry to qualify for the state competition. Should Killebrew's entry win at state, then an all-expense-paid trip for the youngster and one guardian will be provided for him to attend the California State PTA annual convention in Ontario, where he will receive his honor in April.
"It's awesome, and I'm so excited and happy for Justice because he worked so very hard," said his mother, Lareka Killebrew, a Glendale resident.
"He's always had this ability, this talent; we just weren't sure where it was," she added. "He always loved for us to read to him and then he started to read on his own. He read poetry, Maya Angelou, and then he started writing himself."
Glendale High's Dylan Puebla, a 13-year-old ninth-grader, was honored for his painting, titled "Dylan's Art."
"I like to win because I got rewards, and it makes me feel good," Puebla said. "I deserve Barnes & Noble tomorrow."
Puebla's mother, Glendale resident Angelina Puebla, said she was thrilled with her son's artistic abilities.
"I love seeing his artwork, and I really didn't know he even had an interest in art until this competition," she said. "Today was the first day I actually saw the work. He had received a medal at school, but we hadn't seen the art until today."
Ninth-grader Trynity Roberts was one of College View's 16 winners for her collage, "Reach for it Baby!"
The artwork included a hand reaching out for treats, including a pair of M&M's, which was a dead giveaway for Roberts' father, Joey.
"Tonight was the first time I saw her art and I knew which one was hers the moment I saw it," said Joey Roberts, a Glendale resident. "She's a little M&M's queen and that's her thing. So, it was easy to spot."
College View's other winning visual artists were Akiva Pichenik, Michael Gonzalez, Soren Rogers, Lesley Valdez, Sabrina Mombrum, Ariana Mattus, Paul Satamyan, Haik Keshishyan, Caleb Kim, Angel Casillas, Gavin Graves, Jonathan Morris and Patrik Ardashian.
Tony Sultanyan, a student at Muir Elementary, was also a winner.