National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree Ornaments in Washington, DC
Posted on 10/27/2018
2018 National Christmas Tree

It is with great excitement that I share this information with you all. 

I was approached by the office of the Commissioner of Education a few weeks back asking if our CAIS 6th graders would create 24 ornaments for the Connecticut Tree in the Presidents Park to surround the National Christmas Tree this year. We were selected because of our approach to supporting the whole child in academics, athletics, and the arts. We have MANY talented artists here at CAIS. This is the 96th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting.

We are the only school in Connecticut given the honor this year. Our fabulously creative art teacher, Mrs. Wasko, selected twenty-four 6th graders to work with on this project based on their creativity, talent, and ability to focus on the many components of the project.

FOX 61 News came to Arace yesterday to document the ornament making and speak to Mrs. Wasko and the students. I have attached the the video links to the news below. As you will hear, Mrs. Wasko's creative idea was to honor Connecticut in a multitude of ways including having students create their ornaments with famous Connecticut people, original inventions made in Connecticut, and things that are uniquely Connecticut. Each ornament is also adorned with decoupaged hands that help us put the CONNECT in CONNECTicut. Each ornament will also be finished with a piece of the Connecticut tartan which is a plaid pattern signifying some important characteristics of Connecticut. 

To say I am proud is an understatement. Please join me in celebrating this wonderful honor.

Here is the National News Release..

National Park Service News Release


Fifty-six schools will create ornaments to accompany the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON– Fifty-six schools across the country are creating one-of-a-kind ornaments for the 2018 National Christmas Tree experience on the Ellipse in President’s Park in Washington, D.C. 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.

The America Celebrates display is one of the highlights of the National Christmas Tree experience, which will begin on November 28 with the 96th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Each school will create ornaments that celebrate its state, district or territory. Learn about last year’s artists and ornaments.

Through a partnership with the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Education worked with state art and education agencies to identify middle and high schools whose students would create the ornaments. The project is funded by the National Park Foundation.

"It's an excitement and privilege; patriotism at its best,” Gavin Kumar, a ninth-grade student at Leonardtown High School in Leonardtown, Maryland said. “I'm excited that my artwork is going to be on display for thousands of people to see."

“We are very honored for our class to have such a great opportunity to represent the state of Michigan at the National Christmas Tree display," Aniyah Moore,  a 12th-grade student at Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint, Michigan said. "It will be fun to create the ornaments, and to show our creativity for our state.”

"I'm honored our small school has the opportunity to represent the beautiful Big Sky State, through art, at a national level,” Elizabeth Donahue, a ninth-grade student at Roundup Junior/Senior High School in Roundup, Montana said.

Fifty-six schools to create ornaments for 2018 National Christmas Tree display in President’s Park:


Hewitt-Trussville Middle School


Tanana Middle School

American Samoa

Fagaitua High School


Isaac Middle School


Ardis Ann Middle School


Gabrielino High School


Chappelow K-8 Arts Magnet School


Carmen Arace Intermediate School


Dover Air Force Base Middle School

District of Columbia

SEED Public Charter School


Lecanto High School


Riverwood High School


Agueda I. Johnston Middle School


Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School


Central Academy


Dwight Township High School


Our Lady of Grace Catholic School


Starmont Middle School


Colby Middle School


Kentucky School for the Deaf and Kentucky School for the Blind


Wossman High School


Lawrence High School


Leonardtown High School


St Charles School


Carman-Ainsworth High School


MACCRAY High School


Forest Hill High School


Hazelwood West Middle School


Roundup Jr.-Sr. High School


St. Mary's School Bellevue


Gerlach K-12

New Hampshire

Contoocook Valley Regional High School

New Jersey

Ocean City High School

New Mexico

El Dorado Community School

New York

Dryden Senior High School

North Carolina

Needham B. Broughton High School

North Dakota

Beulah High School

Northern Mariana Islands

Saipan Southern High School


Milford Junior High School


Middle School of Piedmont


Howard St. Charter School


Middletown Area Middle School

Puerto Rico

Escuela Especializada de Bellas Artes Ernesto Ramos Antonini

Rhode Island

Paul W. Crowley East Bay Met School

South Carolina

John W. Moore Intermediate School

South Dakota

Roosevelt High School


Fairview Middle School


Knippa School, Knippa ISD


Evergreen Junior High School


Randolph Elementary and Middle School

US Virgin Islands

St. Croix Educational Complex


Governor's School for the Arts


Graham-Kapowsin High School

West Virginia

Washington High School



DeLong Middle School

Lingle-Fort Laramie High School

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.

Today’s National Christmas Tree is a living Colorado blue spruce from Virginia, which can be viewed year-round in President’s Park. This year’s 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 December 1, 2018 through January 1, 2019.

For more event information and updates, please visit and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2018. -NP

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. The National Park Service has cared for the White House and its grounds since 1933. President’s Park, which includes the Ellipse and Lafayette Park, was officially included in the national park system in 1961. Visit us at:, on Facebook:, Twitter:, and YouTube:

About the U.S. Department of Education: The original Department of Education was created in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help states establish effective school systems. In 1980, Congress established the U.S. Department of Education as a Cabinet-level agency. While the agency’s name and location within the Executive Branch have changed over the past 150 years, this early emphasis on getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers continues to the present day. Today, the Department operates programs that touch on every area and level of education. Its elementary and secondary programs annually serve over 18,000 school districts and more than 55 million students attending nearly 100,000 public schools and approximately 35,000 private schools. Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to about 16 million postsecondary students.

About the National Park Foundation: Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at

Sarah L. Williams

Principal of Carmen Arace Intermediate School

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