Students reflect on the thought ‘I wonder why’ |

Students reflect on the thought ‘I wonder why’

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal An student at walks past the "Reflections" art contest at Carson High School Thursday. There were 61 entries in this years contest Thirty-seven in literature, two in music, four in visual arts and 18 in photography.

Participating in the “Reflections” art contest at Carson High School turned out to be a boon for student Ann Sinnott.

Not only did the 17-year-old receive extra credit from teacher Patt Quinn-Davis for completing her entry early, she also won $75 because her project won second place in the literature category.

“My mom always likes me to put money away,” she said at lunch time about what she plans to do with the winnings.

On Thursday, all of the entries into “Reflections” – a National Parent Teacher Association sponsored contest – were on display during lunch in Senator Square. There were 61 entries this year, compared with some 25 in last year’s contest. Thirty-seven of those were in literature, two were in music, four in visual arts and 18 in photography.

“I was really surprised,” said parent Lynne Heller, who is overseeing the contest a second year in the row. “A lot of teachers this year really supported the kids and gave them extra credit for their projects.”

This year’s theme, as designated by the national PTA, was “I wonder why.” Photography student Elizabeth Gohr, 16, brainstormed about that for awhile before coming up with a piece called, “I wonder why you can’t lick your elbow.”

It led to a black-and-white picture, her entry, of friend Ashley Renteria, also a photography student, with her tongue as close as she could get to her elbow – which was her forearm.

“I thought it was a little crazy,” Ashley said. “I was a little embarrassed to pose for it, but I thought why the heck why not.”

Other entrees were called “I wonder why girls always look in a mirror,” “I wonder why people grow old but love doesn’t,” and “I wonder why love hurts so much.”

Students from kindergarten to high school submit entries, which are judged on adherence to theme, as well as creativity and technique. Ann was surprised to find her essay a winner.

“I did it at 12 o’clock the night before it was due,” she said. “I didn’t really try very hard. I just wanted extra credit.”

The 11 winners – three for each of the categories, but just two from music because of just two entries – will be shipped to Las Vegas for the state finals. Several pieces from Carson High made the cut for nationals last year, but were not winners there. The results from the national contest are usually announced in April.

Heller, whose son Harris, a student at Carson High School, was a winner this year in music, says the contest gives students with quiet talents the opportunity to be recognized.

“My artistic talent is in performing and dancing and singing,” she said. “There is recognition and applause for a talent like that, but I have such high regard for these people who have these quiet talents – the writers, the photographers – who just don’t get the praise they deserve.”

The students will receive their awards at the Feb. 6 parent-teacher association meeting at Carson High School.

— Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at or 881-1219.

Reflections contest winners at Carson High

LITERATURE: Kristine Charles, first; Ann Sinnott, second; Alexandra Banfield, third

MUSIC: Harris Heller, first; Randy Cagle, second

VISUAL ARTS: Rebecca Fox, first; Michelle Landry, second; Mike Vacchina, third

PHOTOGRAPHY: Kevin Smoot, first; Shannon Eng, second; Jesslyn Poehlman, third