Leone High creating ornaments for 2019 Nat’l Christmas Tree
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — At 56 schools across the country, students are creating one-of-a-kind ornaments for the 2019 National Christmas Tree display on the Ellipse in President’s Park. These handcrafted ornaments will adorn 56 smaller trees that surround the National Christmas Tree.
The 56 trees represent each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia as part of the America Celebrates display. From state flowers to notable landmarks, students across the country are creating ornaments that celebrate their state, district or territory.
“Everyone has a home but not everyone has the honor of representing their home in Washington, D.C.,” Danica Lambert, a 7th grader at St. James–St. John School in New Bedford, Massachusetts said. “My heart is filled with love and joy to be able to represent my home of Massachusetts.”
One of the 26 ornaments sent from Washington DC to be designed and painted by Leone High School art students under the guidance of Art instructor Tony Esau. The ornament design program is hosted every year by the National Park Service. [courtesy photo]
Through a partnership with the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Education worked with state art and education agencies to identify elementary, middle and high schools whose students would create the ornaments for the America Celebrates display. Over 1,500 students will participate in this year’s project, which is funded by the National Park Foundation.
The America Celebrates display is one of the highlights of the National Christmas Tree experience, which will begin on Thursday, Dec. 5th with the 97th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
This year, one of the 56 schools that’ll create ornaments for the 2019 National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park is Leone High School from American Samoa. They were chosen by the DOE-OCI Art Department to participate in this year’s Christmas ornament design, which is hosted every year by the National Park Service.
Twenty-six plastic ornaments were sent from Washington DC to be designed and painted by LHS art students under the guidance of Art instructor Tony Esau. A great faafetai to the support of the LHS student body, teachers, administrators, LHS principal Patrick Danielson and the PTA.
From state flowers to notable landmarks, students across the country are creating ornaments that celebrate their state, district or territory. This one very much represents American Samoa.[courtesy photo]
The art students who volunteered and donated their artistic skills for this project are: Haulani Lafua, Sema Papalii, Chelsea Save, Adonai Tinae, Beverly Ludgate, April Liu, Lagi So'oalo, Piulamalua Taua, Numia Taaleifi, Dimitrus Philip, Paul Isaako, and Peter Isaako.
Last year it was Fagaitua High School that created the ornaments for the 2018 National Christmas Tree display.
The National Christmas Tree Lighting has strong ties to education. In 1923, a letter arrived at the White House from the District of Columbia public schools proposing that a decorated Christmas tree be placed on the South Lawn of the White House. On Christmas Eve that year, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the Oval Office to the Ellipse and pushed a button that lit the first National Christmas Tree. It was a 48-foot fir donated by Middlebury College in Vermont.
Since 1973, the National Christmas Tree has been a living tree which can be viewed year-round in President’s Park – one of America’s 419 national parks! The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will kick off the holiday season with live musical performances, special guests, and the official lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
The festivities continue with a daily lighting of the National Christmas Tree, free evening musical performances, and a chance to see the 56 state, District, and territory trees and their ornaments up close from Dec. 9, 2019 through Jan. 1, 2020.
A pua-inspired ornament that is among several being submitted by Leone HS students. [courtesy photo]