Great use of a filter and an overall wonderful assignment. I must say the star filters are not one of the more popular filters used in photography today and in fact I think this is the first assignment posted which uses this filter. However, I love the subtle effects it has on this image.
You’ve essentially used the filter to exaggerate and draw attention to the small flames in the candles. The star filter has caused subtle lines to extend outwards from the candle flame. This creates a series of lines that draw the viewer’s eye towards the light and highlights their presence.
Even without the star filter your viewer’s eye would have been drawn towards the candles since the small flames are the brightest part of the image and located in the center so our eyes would have naturally wondered there, but the start filter acts as a directional cue to help ensure we’re drawn towards that area and inflate its importance.
The overall composition is also quite strong. You’ve used a predominately balanced composition with your main objects placed in the center of the photograph and your horizon line being very close to the center point as well.
The only thing I would like you to be cautious of is the direction of your straight lines in your photograph. I could be wrong about this but there seems to be a bit of a slant (very subtle) in the line that creates your horizon line. It seems to slant down towards the right by a few pixels. This disrupts the otherwise controlled, balanced and symmetrical look of the photograph and looks unintentional.
Some cameras have a “graph” option that you can use when you’re trying to achieve symmetry or balance. This allows you to line up the different ends of your horizon line so you can ensure these “slants” don’t occur.