2018 Reflections Contest Results

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2018 Reflections Contest Results

Melody Yang, Staff Writer

The 2018 Reflections Contest at AHS saw many talented students’ interpretations of the theme, “Heroes Around Me”, in different categories. From Visual Arts to Literature, here are the winners from this year’s contest!


  1. Jim Jiang
  2. Qing Song Zhu
  3. Nicholas Chan

Many amazing pieces were seen in literature, with senior Jim Jiang winning 1st place. Senior Qing Song Zhu won 2nd place. Senior Nicholas Chan, who placed 3rd, shared that his inspiration came from his mother. He recalled, “As soon as my teacher told our class about this contest and its theme, I instantly knew right there that I was going to write about my mom.” Nicholas expressed, “Writing this piece was very sentimental to me and something I sort of poured my heart into, reminiscing on the moments in my mom’s life.” After learning that he placed 3rd, Nicholas said, “I feel proud knowing that her story had a connection with the readers, especially those who also have immigrant parents who came to this country sacrificing everything and leaving it all behind to start a new life for their kids.” Nicholas’ piece truly captured the theme of this year’s contest. Congratulations to all the winners in Literature!

Music Composition:

  1. Janice Wang
  2. Martina Chen

Dramatic and epic compositions were submitted from both freshman Janice Wang and junior Martina Chen. Janice’s piece, called “A Hero’s Journey”, included dramatic melodies and loud dynamics, along with sections that sounded a bit mysterious which reflects the ups and downs a hero faces. When describing the process in composing her piece, Janice revealed, “There was a whole section that I completely improvised because I wanted to make it sound more heroic.”

Martina’s piece, called “Undaunted”, was as full orchestra piece, with a full set of winds, strings, and percussion. Martina stated that she “based it off of the kind of heroic music you might expect from a Marvel or DC film.” Many of her challenges throughout her process of composing came from the fact that she has “no formal training in music theory or composition.” The only thing she knew was what she “learned as a violinist, which is quite a lot, but still not nearly as much as most composers.” Despite these challenges, she still was able to submit an amazing piece. She stated, “I think what’s more valuable to me is that, after submitting it to Reflections, the AHS Orchestra 3 played it in the holiday concert.” Great job Martina and Janice!


  1. Adhila Akbar
  2. Timothy Sujo
  3. Brandon Cheung

Amazing pictures were taken by all winners in photography. Sophomore Adhila Akbar, most notably, captured a scene in Kerala, India, while visiting her home. Her image pictured two fishermen in a boat on a beautiful lake. Adhila revealed, “When I saw these fishermen with the beautiful background, I knew I had to capture it.” Her picture also beautifully reflects this year’s theme, since “fishermen like these saved about 65,000 people in Kerala from the most devastating flood they had in a century.” Adhila expressed, “I never thought I would win, and definitely not 1st place, but I’m very grateful that I did. I’ve always loved taking and editing pictures, so it feels great to be recognized for something I do for fun.”

Junior Timothy Sujo, who won 2nd, submitted a picture that he took at the Union Rescue Mission where he volunteers. The picture, taken at the entrance area of the Union Rescue Mission, indicated the degree of homelessness in Skid Row, Los Angeles. Timothy expressed, “I am thankful that I can use photography to explain the heroic nature of Union Rescue Mission giving back.  I worked with many of the workers there who were originally homeless, and [now they are] giving back to the community.”

Freshman Brandon Cheung took a picture depicting the timers and parents atswim meets. Brandon said, “ I chose them because I really appreciate how much time they sacrifice for the swimmers at the swim meets. They helped me improve my times, and without them, I would not be where I am today.” Brandon also expressed that he never expected to win, since art and writing were never his strengths. However, he stated, “I am really surprised in my success and happy that I decided to compete in this contest.”

Visual Arts:

  1. Yinuo Xu
  2. Megan Wang
  3. Isaac Xu

Last but definitely not least, the Visual Arts Category also had amazing submissions. Senior Yinuo (Nancy) Xu, who placed 1st, painted a piece called “Heroes in the Rain” that depicted a crossing guard lady helping kids cross the street safely in the rain. Yinuo shared, “Ever since middle school, the crossing guard lady is always the first person I see at school every morning. Her kind greetings and the smile on her face would brighten my entire day. She’s always there, helping other students and me cross the road safely, no matter the weather.”

Junior Megan Wang, who placed 2nd, created an acrylic painting of a group of musicians with their instruments. She expressed, “This year’s theme inspired me to submit a piece that shows the impact musicians make on people all around the world and how the music they make has encouraged many to overcome any obstacles that come in their way.” Her achievement has given her more motivation to continue making art in the future.

Senior Isaac Xu’s piece was called “Soccer and World Peace” and represented how far the small European country of Croatia had come. Croatia’s soccer team had placed 2nd in the 2018 World Cup, yet most of its players were also survivors in Croatia’s Independence War in the 90s. Isaac stated, “Their hometowns were destroyed, and they lived off the streets.  Soccer became their only childhood game and emotional anchor in that era. Croatian players fought hard in each World Cup game because they knew peace was far more important than anything else especially for those who grew up in bloodshed.” Isaac’s painting was split in half, with one side representing war and the other representing peace. Isaac’s representation of the Croatian soccer team is truly commendable, as it recognizes the country’s astounding achievements.

This year’s Reflections contest inspired participants to share either their own or other people’s stories that have impacted those around them. Many meaningful pieces were submitted, each one capturing the meaning of this year’s theme in their own way. Congratulations to all winners!

Graphic courtesy of STILLPTSA.COM