Kindergartener’s composition picked for national competition

Lakeridge student Hannah Zhao is a finalist in the PTA Reflections arts contest for an original music composition. - Contributed
Lakeridge student Hannah Zhao is a finalist in the PTA Reflections arts contest for an original music composition.
— image credit: Contributed

Hannah Zhao, 5, a student at Lakeridge Elementary, entered her original piano composition, “The Dragon and the Bird,” into the annual PTA Reflections contest earlier this winter after receiving encouragement from her older brother and piano teacher. Now her piece is heading to the national competition after Zhao earned first place in the primary musical composition category for outstanding interpretation at the state level.

The Reflections program, started in 1969, encourages students from all grade levels to create something in an artistic field as a way to foster creative thinking and the arts in school.

Zhao’s piece, which won first at the local level, also earned first place in her category at the state level, automatically sending the piece on to nationals — remarkable for anyone, but especially so for Zhao, considering that she is in kindergarten.

Alex Zhao, Hannah’s father, said that she just started learning the piano and has been taking lessons since last summer. He added that her older brother has participated in Reflections in the past. Encouraged by her father and brother, Zhao decided to work on a piece. A student in Marcelle Waldman’s kindergarten class, Zhao is one of Washington state’s 114 Reflections winners.

Megan Hand, the Lakeridge Reflections chair, said that, locally, student work is judged by community professionals from fine arts fields. Awards are given out for first, second and third places, as well as honorable mentions. Students who receive first place in each of the categories automatically compete at the state level.

Zhao has been invited to perform her piece at the state award ceremony May 3 at the SeaTac Double Tree hotel.

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