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Eighth-grader Kristopher Hamlin wins a state PTA award for his piano composition.

Challenger K8 eighth-grader Kristopher Hamlin received an Award of Excellence at the state level in the National PTA 2009 Reflections Program this summer.

The program presented awards of excellence and merit in six categories: visual arts, photography, literature, musical composition, dance choreography and film production.

Kristopher, 13, is the first Hernando student to receive the top honor in musical composition. He received medals and monetary awards for his piano composition based on the theme "Wow."

"You had to write a song," he said. "It had to be completely your own."

Kris took the theme and became inspired to write when he changed it to an acronym standing for "Wonders of the World." As he composed, he explained, he thought of the beauty of nature - meadows, waterfalls, mountains and sunsets.

He has been involved in music for many years. "I've taken piano lessons for five or six years," he said. "I've taken vocal lessons for eight or nine years. I didn't do any singing in this song. It was just a piano piece."

He submitted a CD and the sheet music for his work and, as it is circulated by the PTA this year, he hopes someone might like it enough to record it.

The awards were distributed at his school, but he also received a letter from the PTA informing him of his win.

"I felt really excited when I found out I won," he said, "and I got even more excited when I found out I got a check for $100."

Kristopher is the son of Jon and Shirley Hamlin of Spring Hill.