Baker Elementary students got to be a part of something very special this Holiday Season: the opportunity to have the ornaments they decorated placed on the Nevada Tree in Washington D.C. for the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C., presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.
Baker Elementary Art Teacher Roberta Moore said the Great Basin National Park received the clear plastic 6 1/2 inch ornament casings from the National Park Foundation and asked if anyone in the community of Baker wanted to decorate them.
Moore immediately seized the opportunity and created an art project for the students at Baker Elementary School. Moore obtained dark blue ornaments for the students to use, utilizing the clear plastic ornaments as casing to protect the smaller ornament from the harsh winter weather conditions that occur in Washington D.C. Mrs. Yacapraro’s Elementary School class, grades 3 through 6 designed and handcrafted the Christmas ornaments.
The 12 students began working on the project around the first week in October. Inspired by the park’s incredibly clear night skies the students and Moore opted to create their night sky ornaments to celebrate Nevada and be part of the America Celebrates display.
Each student picked a constellation and drew a design for their individual ornament. The design was transferred to the plastic ornaments and they were painted with silver ink, adding rhinestones as stars in each constellation and finished off with a silver ribbon.
The project took about three art classes. The ornaments were shipped off as early as Oct. 30, to adorn the Nevada Tree, one of 56 trees representing each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia through Jan. 1.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony was held on Nov. 30. When asked what inspired Moore to take on this project, she said, “My personal inspiration was to give the Baker Elementary School kids the opportunity to contribute to something outside their regular day to day life and learn to create something magical.”
The first lighting took place 95 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.
This project will stay forever in these children’s memories as one child told Moore and his classmates during the project “Art can give you magical powers.”
“That statement and the chance to give the kids this wonderful opportunity to create their starry ornaments and be recognized for their work and creativity was quite rewarding for me” Moore said.
For more information about the program and to view the ornaments from Nevada and other states visit http://thenationaltree.org/visit-the-tree-2/america-celebrates-2017/.