Wyoming Indian Middle School (WIMS) was selected to create one-of-a-kind ornaments celebrating Wyoming for the 2019 National Christmas Tree display in Washington, D.C. Their ornaments will decorate one of the fifty-six trees representing each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia that surrounds the National Christmas Tree as part of America Celebrates display.
The Wyoming State Department of Education (WSDE) called WIMS and let them know they were the Wyoming school selected this year. “We were not allowed to tell anyone we were selected,” WIMS teacher Jen Runsclosetolodge shared. WSDE then put the school in contact with the National Parks Service, who sponsors and organizes this event.
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Twenty-four plastic softball-sized ornaments were sent to WIMS earlier this school year for the 8th graders to decorate. The ornaments all needed to look the same, and schools were encouraged to use red, green, and gold when decorating them. Although the design of the ornaments must remain a secret until the National Parks Service gives the school the go-ahead to share publicly, the ornaments are reflective of the students, culture, traditions, and history while also recognizing the diversity of Wyoming, Jen explained. “We wanted to represent Wyoming as being more diverse than what people know.”
The completed ornaments were sent off on November 5th. It took around 30 hours for 15 students to complete the ornaments, shared Jen. “I’m really proud of the kids. It was a lot work.” Teachers and the school administration were very supportive during this process. Students worked on the ornaments whenever they could. Including four nights after school to complete them on time.
The National Parks Service will publicly share the ornaments around December 5th before the National Tree Lighting.