Jillian Miller, a fifth-grader at Walt Whitman Elementary School in Syosset, has been chosen as a 2014 National PTA Award of Merit Reflections winner for her original artistic piece, an original self-choreographed dance routine entitled, “You Can Be Anything.”
The National PTA’s Reflections program encourages students in pre-k through grade 12 to explore and be involved in the arts.
Thousands of students each year reflect on the theme and create original works of art in the categories of Dance Choreography, Film Production, Music Composition, Literature, Photography and Visual Arts.
This year’s theme was “Believe, Dream, Inspire.” Miller’s entry was among 1,018 works of art submitted to the Nassau Region PTA. The judges, who are unaware of the artist’s name when evaluating each entry, use the following criteria when judging: artistic merit, creativity, mastery of medium and most importantly, interpretation of theme.
As a Nassau Region PTA Reflections finalist, Miller’s entry was chosen for it’s originality and interpretation of the theme.
The Nassau Region held a reception at Wisdom Lane Middle School in Levittown in April, where 160 students were announced as Nassau Region Finalists. Special awards were also given to those students who were selected by the judges as the top entries in their arts category.
Miller was also chosen as a winner of the Helen B. Vandermosten Arts-in-Education Award, which honors a past Nassau Long Island PTA Director and her dedication to PTA, children and the arts. It was then that Jillian learned that her entry, which had moved on to the New York State level of the competition, was selected as a New York State Award of Excellence winner and would then be judged on the National level.
Miller’s entry was chosen as a 2014 National PTA Award of Merit winner from among hundreds of thousands of student submissions from across the nation. From all of those entries, fewer than 200 were winners at the national level.
Miller is a competitive dancer who dances 15-20 hours a week as part of a national award-winning dance competition team at World Class Performance Center in Plainview.
She is inspired by her big sister, Alexa, who is also a competitive dancer at World Class.
Miller continues to work and strive to be better and better. This was her first attempt at choreographing her own piece.