Students honored for creativity during state PTA competition


Students at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District were honored for their creativity during the 2013 State PTA Reflections Competition.

Liam Thomas Giloon from Stuart Place Elementary earned the overall award of excellence at the Intermediate Level for his literature entry titled “Unforgettable.” With his win, Giloon will advance to the national competition. This is the first time the Harlingen City PTA has had a student advance to this level.

Stuart Place Student Jaylynn Sanchez earned the Award of Merit at the primary level for her watercolor Visual Art submission titled “Dolphins Always Have Fun.” Keys Academy  student Vrianna Cantu earned the Award of Excellence at the senior level for her Visual Art entry “When I Found You, I Found Me.”

Cantu’s artwork will be displayed in a public government building in Austin throughout April.

The PTA Reflections Program hosts its yearly contest to provide students the opportunity to submit an artist statement that describes what inspires them. The programs mission to encourage students across the nation to explore their artistic talents. Students can submit entries in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography and visual arts. Students in pre-k through grade 12 are encouraged to participate.


National bound essay:



By: Liam Giloon

I woke up tired and had butterflies in my stomach.  I’m not really sure how many hours I actually slept because I was just so excited.  My brother and I had been planning for my Grandma Kathy and Papa’s visit for the past six months. They were coming to visit and were going to take us to Six Flags Fiesta Texas!

My Grandma Kathy and Papa lived in Florida almost two thousand miles from my home in Harlingen, TX.  We talked on the phone and wrote to each other every week.  My Grandma Kathy and Papa would send me cards to celebrate the

first day of school and for good grades.  I loved checking the mailbox everyday hoping to find one of her notes of encouragement.   Since the day I was born we would spend our annual vacation with them.  They were always a big part of my life even if we only got to see them once a year and this year they were coming to see us.  My Grandma and Papa had planned a magical adventure for my older brother and me; they were going to pick us up and drive us to Six Flags Fiesta Texas!  They had been sending us information about the rides so we could research and plan our favorite “must see” rides to make sure that we got to ride them all.  It seemed like we waited forever, but they finally arrived at our house and now the fun could begin!

The car ride to San Antonio was so much fun.  We played car games, listened to books on tape and sang along with songs playing on the radio.  I smiled as I looked out the car window, feeling so happy to be with my grandparents.  We

took a bunch of pictures before even entering the park, such as pictures of me and my Grandma at different points along our journey.  When we finally arrived and entered Six Flags Fiesta Texas my brother and I couldn’t believe how lucky we were!  We could smell the fresh-popped popcorn, hot dogs and funnel cake. My Grandma promised to buy me one of each.  She smiled at me, squeezed my hand and told me how much she loved us.  Then she said, “Which one should we ride first?”

There were just so many!  Tall rides, long rides and scary rides and Grandma

Kathy rode them all.  One of our favorites was a water-rafting ride.  We had to climb a lot of stairs to reach the top and when we got into the raft my Grandma smiled at me.  I couldn’t wait for the ride to begin.  The attendant put our seat belts on and fastened the safety bar down tight.  Then he pushed a big red button and the raft began to move.  We floated along for about thirty seconds and then came upon a huge waterfall.  Now, my Grandma is a southern lady who takes pride in her make-up, hair and looking her best, so what happened next made us all laugh.  Our raft slammed into the waterfall completely drenching my Grandma!  She didn’t care, or if she did, she didn’t tell us.  Instead she walked around the park in wet clothes with her hair plastered to her face, all the while wearing her sweet smile, hugging me and telling me how glad she was to be my Grandmother.  That magical moment will never be forgotten.

Unfortunately the trip to Six Flags Fiesta Texas was one of my last adventures with my Grandma Kathy. Weeks after our trip together, Grandma Kathy was diagnosed with Cancer.  One year later, my Grandma Kathy died.  She was the perfect Grandma and I’m grateful for the time we spent with her and for all the good memories.  I know she’s watching over me now, reading this story as I write it and remembering our fun trip together.

This story is dedicated to the memory of my Grandma Kathy.




Jaylynn Sanchez “Dolphins Always Have Fun”

Vrianna Cantu “When I Found You, I Found Me”

One thought on “Students honored for creativity during state PTA competition

  1. Dear Liam,

    I am soooooooo proud of you! I will never forget that day, and the most memorable time Grandma Kathy, You, Colin and I all had. Those are memories that we’ll all share forever :)

    All my love,

    Pops (“Papa”)

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