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img_9220Top Row: Andres Gasca, Jackie Skinner, Trinity Sandoval, Morgan Moore, and Mason Aragon
Bottom Row: Rita Wang, Oscar Chi, Grace Gapter, Pat Nguyen, and Grace Sanford

Wyoming’s Slade Elementary School and Centennial Elementary artists hand craft ornaments to accompany the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C.


LARAMIE, Wy.— Ornaments by local Wyoming student artists will dazzle President’s Park (White House) in Washington, D.C. as part of the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting display.

Mason Aragon, Oscar Chi, Amber Daugherty, Grace Gapter, Andres Gasca, Morgan Moore, A.J. Mora, Patrick Nguyen, Trinity Sandoval, Grace Sanford, Jackie Skinner, and Rita Wang from Slade Elementary School in Laramie, as well as Amber Daugherty of Centennial Elementary, designed ornaments that showcase the beautiful Wyoming landscape. Under the direction of art teacher Paige Gustafson, students created ornaments that tell a story about the vast and diverse Wyoming wildlife. The hand crafted ornaments will adorn one of 56 trees representing each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia from December 1, 2016 through January 1, 2017 as part of the America Celebrates display.


“It is an honor to have my students decorate our home state tree and help the nation celebrate the holidays in one of our most recognizable national parks. I can’t wait for our kids’ artwork to be displayed at a national level,” said Paige Gustafson, art teacher. “I am excited to be a part of the America Celebrates display because it is a wonderful opportunity to showcases the talents and dedication of elementary artists not just in Wyoming, but across America.”

Students were chosen for this project based on aptitude and interest in the arts. Twelve students from grades, 3, 4, and 5, met after school in the art room every Thursday during month of October. Each student chose a native Wyoming animal to display using cut leather and acrylic paints. The yellow prairies, purple mountains, and bright blue skies were chosen to showcase the breathtaking beauty of the Wyoming landscape.


Presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the National Christmas Tree Lighting is one of America’s oldest holiday traditions. The first National Christmas Tree lighting took place 94 years ago on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse. Since 1923, each succeeding president has carried on the tradition.

For more event information and updates, please visit www.thenationaltree.org and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2016. Through a partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, the Hallmark Channel will exclusively broadcast the National Christmas Tree Lighting on December 5.


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