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West Middle Students Take Home 2012 Missouri PTA Reflections Awards

Eighth grade students Jaylen Bledsoe and Lauren Barboza earned second and fourth place, respectively, in the junior/middle division of the 2011-2012 Missouri PTA Reflections Program. This year’s theme is, “Diversity Means…”

and Lauren Barboza have accomplished something of which they should be proud: creativing innovative methods to express the beauty of diversity.

Both are eighth grade students at in the , and earned second and fourth place, respectively, in the junior/middle division of the 2011-2012 Missouri PTA Reflections Program.

This year’s theme was “Diversity Means…” Each of the students that participated, of which there were 1,300 entries, was tasked with finding a way to explain the theme using either dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography or a form of visual arts (drawing, painting, collage).

Barboza competed in the visual arts category and created a three-dimensional picture highlighting Earth. The design included black tissue paper and gold oil pastel

“It read, ‘Embrace Diversity’ across the top and it had different religious symbols – the Star of David, the Cross and others – as the borders,” she said.

Barboza said she was really happy when , the school’s librarian, told her the news about placing.

She said it took her about three weeks to complete the project. Bledsoe said his project took a little longer closing in at about four weeks to complete.

He competed in the video category and created a four-minute short film. Bledsoe said he filmed his peers in groups with the signs displaying something they liked. The students would yell out what was written on their signs which included sayings, ‘We are Farmers’ or ‘We are Teachers’."

Bledsoe also said he conducted man-on-the-street type interviews where he asked students what diversity meant to them.

"I wanted to show that diversity is not just based on skin color or on gender," he said.

Bledsoe used the school’s video camera to film the students, and edited the film on his own computer.

There will be a ceremony May 5 for student winners at the Missouri PTA Leadership Conference in Columbia, Missouri.

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