By Vanessa Wu
The 96th annual National Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C. began on Wednesday and continues through Jan. 1. The National Christmas Tree is placed in the middle of President’s Park with 56 smaller trees surrounding it. There are 56 smaller trees because each tree represents a state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
The Department of Education and National Park Service teamed up with state art and education agencies to find 56 middle and high schools from all over the nation to help them create ornaments for the National tree lighting.
Gabrielino High School was the only school selected out of all schools in California to participate in this special event. The intermediate art classes were chosen to create ornaments for the California State Tree.
“We deserve it.” stated art teacher Emmett Suess. “We have many talented students who have plenty of skills and they represent the diverse population of California.
Plastic, clear ornaments were sent from Washington to the schools that are creating the art for the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Many schools received the ornaments at the end of September but the Gabrielino students received them on Oct. 22. Despite this challenge, they were able to meet the deadline and finish them on time.
“Some techniques my partner and I used was to draw with dry erase markers on the ornaments so [it’s] easier and not mess up when painting,” stated senior Marisol Orozco. “We also would mix colors together on the side to see if we would get a better color that would work with our design that we made.”
Individual art students have their own unique way of creating an image that represents what California is.
“It’s not just us making something for our own happiness.” stated senior Lawrence Ly. “I felt more careful on what I would put to represent California since it wasn’t just me seeing it. Also this was the first time we did art on an ornament so it was a cool experience.”
The color scheme was red, orange, yellow, black, gold glitter, and white glitter. Gabrielino students went on the official website of the National Tree Lighting Ceremony and saw examples of last year’s ornaments to get an idea of what to design.
“We wanted to represent the forest fires without being too political while creating beautiful, Christmas and California symbols like the Golden Gate Bridge, snowflakes, and California Poppies.” stated senior Kacie Nguyen.