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Let’s reflect on ERHS’ talented artists

Updated: Apr 11

In the fall semester of this school year, several of ERHS' most creative students entered the 2023 Reflections Art Contest. This annual contest is made available to students through the PTA and aims to inspire and cultivate an appreciation for the arts in students of all ages. This year's theme was "I am hopeful because..." and here's how the highest-placing contestants interpreted it:

Photo by Claire Duarte

Although he was challenged to write music for a specific theme while also interpreting it in his own unique way, Kai Hosein (11th grade) placed first for high school Music Composition. His piece “That’s What’s Good” could be confused for a professionally produced song you’d hear on the radio. Although grateful for the opportunity to represent Eagle Rock and honored to be recognized in the results, Kai entered the contest after finding out about it for the first time this year simply because he thought it would be a fun new experience. An enjoyer of music in all its facets (listening, playing, writing, etc.), this talented musician plans to stick with it for a very long time.

Photo by Claire Duarte

Motivated to enter the contest by a deep love of dance, Carmen Dominguez (7th grade) placed first for middle school with her emotive dance choreography titled “Equanimity.” She says, “I love to express myself through dance, and it helps me not think about anything. When I am stressed out,  I dance and it calms me down, and then the music and moves just take over. I wanted to share how I felt about dancing in a calm and zen way, which is why I entered this contest.” Inspired by the way "Pink+White" by Frank Ocean helps her find peace of mind when overthinking, Carmen set out to showcase the magic made possible by incorporating the power of emotional music with dance. A dancer since birth, this art form runs throughout Carmen’s whole family and has always been a part of her life that she doesn’t plan on parting with anytime soon.

Photo by Claire Duarte

Roxy Katz (8th grade) aimed to spread an important message on women's empowerment in her first-place-winning art piece: "The Future is Female." She often finds inspiration in other impressive artists and upon viewing the “beautiful and powerful” women they showcase she decided to focus her art piece on an idol of her own: "Malala Yousafsai is one of my idols, so I thought I would depict a Muslim girl fighting for her learning, just like she did. I am a feminist, so young girls fighting for their education gives me hope.” A passionate artist Roxy believes opportunities such as these set her up for a future where she can continue to cultivate her artistic talent. In her words, “it is good that my piece got publicity because it shares a good message, and it's important for people to see empowered women in art.”

Photo by Claire Duarte

A reflections art contest veteran, Annie Baker Young (7th grade) has entered some form of art into the contest every year since second grade, but she doesn’t do it for the award: “I've always loved drawing and painting, and this contest is just a fun art outlet. I don't really care if I win or not, it's just fun.” Her piece is titled "Start of Hope" and although she loves participating she finds that the specific themes provided can stunt creative liberty so she tends to create her pieces in a reverse fashion, “If I'm being honest, I never really have the theme in mind while I make art for the contest. Usually, the art comes first, and then I find a way to relate it to the theme.” Annie plans to continue cultivating her natural artistic talent as she moves into high school and beyond, as she excels at it and enjoys it.

Photo by Claire Duarte

Winter Ryu-Whitney (7th grade) decided to draw inspiration from her own life to fulfill the theme, “I just thought about the prompt and my current life and what was making me hopeful at that time. The art piece is about my sister and my best friend, as they give me a lot of hope.” For Winter, once inspiration strikes it is easy to create. She would think about the hope her best friend and sister provide her through their “endless support that keeps [her] going” and their ability to “never fail to brighten [her] day” and the drawing came naturally. She titled her piece "Friendship Lights the Way." She appreciates the freedom she found in the theme as it allowed her to create within the realm of “[her] own unique style.” Winter has dabbled in art for a while but had decided to take it more seriously within the last two years and it’s clear she has the talent to succeed.

Photo by Claire Duarte

An artist who often draws inspiration from another form of art she creates (photography), Nora Maroun (9th grade) is one-half of the insanely talented Maroun siblings. Although the younger of the two, Nora placed first in the high school visual arts division against her brother Jack. She enjoyed the leniency of the theme as she could submit “pretty much anything” and when she did so “without much contemplation” was able to place well. Without a doubt, art is Nora’s calling: “I’ve been making art for my whole life and I just really enjoy it. I want to make a career out of it,” with this level of talent, Nora is already set for success in the professional art world.

Photo by Itzia Chavez

Jack Maroun (10th grade) has almost always had a prevalent passion for painting and drawing. Finding inspiration in anything and everything Jack is undoubtedly gifted far beyond his years in artistic skill. Still, he placed second in high school visual arts to none other than his younger sister Nora. But, Jack didn’t enter his artwork solely for a chance victory, but rather he saw it as an opportunity to gain exposure for his creations which can be hard for many artists to find. However, his artwork is most definitely deserving of all the attention it gets as the level of detail and aptitude it displays is impressive, to say the least. Like his sister, Jack plans to continue to pursue art in the future and, frankly, it’d be a waste of talent if he didn’t.

Congratulations to Kai and Carmen who received the award of excellence at the district level and went on to compete at the state level, as well as Roxy and Nora who received the award of merit!

To any other aspiring artists, stay tuned to the PTA for next school year's theme and contest date announcement!

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