Highland second grader wins National PTA Reflections award

Highland sixth grader earns Honorable Mention at the state level

Asha won the national Award of Excellence in Film from the PTA Reflections program.

Highland second grader Asha Gigani’s favorite television show is American Ninja Warrior. She loves watching the athletes’ incredible feats of strength, and she aspires to become a ninja warrior (or a doctor) when she grows up. So, it makes sense that she chose to create a film documenting her journey toward becoming an American Ninja Warrior for this year’s PTA Reflections contest.

Her film, “My Ultimate Ninja Dream,” advanced at the school, district, regional and state levels. And last week, the national chapter of PTA Reflections announced that Asha’s film received an Award of Excellence in Film, the highest national honor given! Asha is one of only three primary students in the nation to receive this particular award, and she is one of only four students from Illinois to receive any national award.

“I was surprised to learn that I won, and I was really proud that I made it to nationals,” Asha said.

Asha filmed most of her video at the Hillcrest playground, where she used the monkey bars and climbing structures as ninja warrior training tools. She creatively placed her mom’s phone to record her training journey.

View Asha’s award-winning video here.

Ellie received an Honorable Mention in Film at the state level for PTA Reflections.
Ellie received an Honorable Mention in Film.

In addition, Highland sixth grader Ellie Legare advanced to the state level of the PTA Reflections contest, where she received an Honorable Mention in Film. Ellie created an animated film, called “Journey.”

“I’m really interested in animation, and it’s something I’ve been learning and working hard to get better at,” Ellie said. “Last fall, I wanted to challenge myself, so I created an animated film for Reflections.”

Ellie said that her one-minute film uses symbolism to relay an important message: Life is about finding yourself, being true to yourself, and finding friends who like you for you. She said that she hopes to become an animator when she grows up, and she is thrilled that she received an honorable mention for her first animated film.

“I didn’t expect to even advance at the district level,” she said. “I’m really proud of myself because I worked hard and I pushed myself to do something new, and I did it!”

View Ellie’s award-winning video here.