Three Trumbull students among winners of national arts competition

TRUMBULL — Carly Mofenson has always loved music.

“She sits at her piano every day,” said her mother, Lisa Kuchta of Trumbull. “It’s her stress reliever. That’s always been her go-to, is music.”

The 11-year-old Hillcrest Middle School sixth grader’s love of noodling on the piano made her one of three Trumbull students to win the National PTA’s Reflections student arts program. Carly won an Award of Excellence for her musical composition “Fill the World.”

Grace Malin, another Hillcrest Middle sixth grade won an Award of Merit for literature for her piece “To Change the World,” and Selah Simon, a Daniels Farm Elementary School fourth grader, won an Award of Merit in literature for her work “A Trip to the Beach.”

The girls were among nine winners from Connecticut, and among 200 nationwide. The National PTA received more than 900 submissions for the awards, which challenge students to creatively interpret a different theme every year, using one of the following forms of expression: dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts. There is also a special artist division.

This year’s theme was “I Will Change the World By ...”

Submissions in each category are first judged by local PTAs, and winners in each category move on to the state level. First place award winners at that level move on to nationals.

Carly was one of only two winners from Connecticut to receive the Award of Excellence. The other was Rachna Narayanan of Wilton High School, who won an Award of Excellence in the visual arts category.

Award of Excellence winners recieve a silver medal, a $200 Young Artist Scholarship, a certificate of excellence, and their work featured in the traveling Reflections exhibition.

Award of Merit winners receive a bronze medal, a certificate of merit, and their work featured in the traveling Reflections exhibition.

Other Connecticut winners included students from Westport, Wilton, Fairfield and Newtown.

Kuchta said, for her daughter and others who participate in Reflections, the contest is a great opportunity to flex their creative muscles.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to come up with new ideas and try new things,” she said. “The program really rewards them for creativity.”