Mia Seaborn got the surprise of her life at school Monday morning.
Surrounded by her best friends and second-grade classmates at Draper Elementary, Mia learned that her Dance Choreography entry won an Award of Excellence in the National PTA Reflections contest. Her young peers broke out into cheers and Mia’s face lit up as the congratulatory banner was unfurled in a fun surprise announcement.
“I’m happy,” she said.
This was the first time Mia, who’s been dancing since age 3, had ever choreographed a dance and was also her first entry into a PTA Reflections contest. This school year’s theme, announced in 2021, was “I will change the world by…” Mia’s dance entry, titled “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” creatively reflected the theme.
“We need to make our world a better place by learning to recycle and clean up the planet,” Mia’s artist statement read. “We should use less water so more plants can grow and the world will be more beautiful.”
Mia’s two BFFs and tumbling partners — classmates Kenedey Anderson and Jackie Woodward, who uses a wheelchair has no legs — performed her dance for the entry video. Draper Elementary’s PTA recognized her friends alongside Mia for participating.
“I think it’s really fun and it’s a really great memory for her and her two best friends to be able to do this together and enjoy this moment,” said Mia’s mom, Ellie Seaborn, who was a PTSA Teacher of the Year honoree at Draper Park Middle School.
“When they (Draper Elementary PTA) had the assembly and told them the theme (last fall), she came home that day and said, “Mom! I’m doing Reflections!’” added Seaborn, who said she was “baffled, mind blown!” when receiving the great news Sunday night via a phone call.
Students around Utah created 17,000 Reflections projects in seven categories: 2D Visual Arts; 3D Visual Arts; Dance Choreography; Film Production; Photography; Literature; and Music Composition. Entries must receive Awards of Excellence honors from competitions at school, council, region, and state levels to advance for national award consideration.
This is the second consecutive year that a Canyons District student has earned national honors in the Reflections contest, which PTA Region 17 Director Terri Francis says is “pretty remarkable.” In 2021, India Boyé from Willow Canyon Elementary won an Award of Excellence in the music composition category for a rap song she wrote about growing up in a biracial family.
Mia was among three Canyons students to make it to the national stage this year and was joined by Alexis Olsen (Draper Elementary, Photography) and Leah Memmott (Indian Hills Middle, Music Composition). Canyons had a total of 25 students who earned awards at the state level.
Mia, Kenedey and Jackie each received balloons and bead necklaces from the PTA. The students’ moms attended the announcement, along with Draper Elementary PTA President Crystal Tatton, Draper Elementary PTA Reflections Specialist Melarie Wheat, South Elementary Council PTA President Mandy Phelps, Region 17 PTA Director Terri Francis (also on state board of directors), Draper Elementary Principal Christy Waddell, Katie Tinoco, their teacher and the 2022 CSD Teacher of the Year, Canyons School District Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards, and other Draper PTA members.
In an interesting coincidence, a Utah child came up with the 2021-22 theme a few years ago. Students can begin working on next year’s entries. The theme for 2022-23 is “Show Your Voice.”