Art Club members at Riverview Middle School in Huntington are spreading their Christmas spirit — nearly halfway across the country.
The students and Riverview art teacher Christine Nicholson were selected by the National Park Foundation to design and create 24 ornaments for Indiana's tree at this year's National Christmas Tree display in President's Park in Washington, D.C., a news release said.
Each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia has a tree — 56 in total — around the National Christmas Tree, the news release said.
Nicholson said Art Club students started making their ornaments about two weeks ago. Their creations will be shipped today to Washington in preparation for tree decorating there.
The students in grades 6-8 used clay, glitter, paint, yarn, Mod Podge, markers, sticks and plastics to create ornaments that illustrate what Indiana means to them, the news release said.
Nicholson also made an ornament highlighting the four seasons in Indiana — enjoying land and lakes in summer; hard work during harvest time in fall; bitter cold in winter; and rebirth of everything we enjoy in spring.
“It is an honor to be selected!” Nicholson said in the news release. “It makes us feel connected to our national community.
“We are thrilled to be part of the National Christmas tree display because we are now a part of history!” she added. “It is a terrific opportunity to help our young students better understand this American tradition and empower their own creativity.”
The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, which will take place at 5 p.m. Dec. 6, launches four weeks of holiday events in President's Park, the news release said.
The tradition of lighting a National Christmas Tree dates back to Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lighted a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President's Park, the news release said.
For more information about this year's lighting ceremony, go to www.thenationaltree.org.