When my oldest daughter started kindergarten 13 years ago, I had no idea what the PTA did. I would get a flyer sent home saying, “Join the PTA” and I would ignore it. Honestly, I felt I had my hands full with my three little ones and figured there were plenty of other moms who could handle the PTA.
When my daughter was in fifth grade, she came home with a flyer about the PTA Reflections Arts Program. She thought it sounded like fun and decided she wanted to enter something. She could write pretty well, so I suggested she write something for it. She said there was a category for film and video and wanted to enter that. Being the ever supportive mom, I let her use our video camera and bought a simple video editing program and showed her how to use it. She created a really neat video and submitted it to the Reflections contest at our elementary school.
A few weeks later, I got a notice saying her video had won at our school and was going to go on to the next level. Not knowing anything about Reflections, I didn’t know what that meant. A week or two later, I got an invitation to the Council Level Reflections awards assembly saying she won an award there, so we went to it. The Reflections chair at the Council level said her entry was going on to the Region level. By this time I had learned that the Reflections program was a National contest, and that after Region was the State level, and then if she won there it would go to the National level. I also found out that not very many entries from our state ever make it that far. So we were pretty excited when we found out that she got an honorable mention award at the National level. It was a pretty amazing experience and I was very proud of her.
The next year, the Reflections Chair from the previous year asked me if I would be interested in being the chair for Reflections the upcoming year. You know, since I had so much experience with the program because of Kyla’s winning entry. I really hesitated. I do not consider myself an artistic person. I certainly did not feel qualified to run an arts program just because my daughter’s entry did so well. However, I also saw how excited my daughter was about entering Reflections again, so I said yes. I was a little scared when the former chair came over with a tote full of information for me! I soon realized that I could simplify it and change a few things, and it quickly became my “baby”. I was the Reflections Chair at the elementary school for 5 years and then at the junior high and high school for 3 more years! I am now in my second year as President of the PTSA at our high school, and I have been saddened that I have not found someone willing to chair Reflections for our high school yet.
Being the Reflections Chair for the PTA, I was part of the board meetings they would have each month. I was able to participate in many of the other activities and events that the PTA sponsored. I soon learned how many great things our PTA does to benefit our students, teachers, and parents. I also learned that it seems to be the same handful of people that are involved. Sometimes I wonder why more people don’t volunteer or be involved in the PTA/PTSA, but then I have to remember that I never did until I was asked to. So, consider this your invitation.
Our PTA used to be able to take membership payments and donations through the school as part of registration, but due to new Utah laws a few years ago, we are no longer able to accept funds through the schools. This has caused a major drop in our membership and donations. We have been living off of previous years’ donations, but that is now dwindling. So, if you aren’t able to come to the school and help, you can still be involved by donating financially so that the PTA/PTSA can continue to provide the outstanding support to your student’s schools.
The rest of the story…
You might be interested to know, that my daughter is now at college majoring in Media Arts, which is the film program. Her success with her Reflections entry in video all those years ago sparked her interest in film. She was a Sterling Scholar finalist in the category of Skilled and Technical Sciences for her participating in film and video at the high school level. She received enough scholarships to pay for her tuition and housing plus some. Do I think PTA has played an important part of my student’s life? You bet I do! And not just Reflections. As a high school student she was very involved as a student member of our PTSA and was able to gain a lot of service involvement and leadership experience. Make an impact at your school and #BeInvolved.