RMS ornaments hang in D.C.

Rawlins Middle School students display some of the ornaments they designed for the Washington, D.C. national Christmas tree. The students were chosen to represent Wyoming in late September and mailed the ornaments to Washington, D.C., in October.


RAWLINS — Rawlins Middle School students decorated ornaments are set to hang in Washington D.C. during the next month.

RMS art teacher Jamie Chapman said the Wyoming Arts Council asked her and her students to represent Wyoming in this years’ decorating of the National Christmas Tree back in September.

“I have done a number of thing in my career in the past with the Wyoming Arts Council so they knew I was somebody that was interested in having as many opportunities for our students to participate in art opportunities (as possible).”

Chapman said, a small group of students are chosen each year to decorate ornaments to send to Washington D.C.; and was pleased with the opportunity

“It was a real honor to be asked,” Chapman said.

Chapman added that the 2016 ornaments were designed by third, fourth, and fifth graders of Slade Elementary School out Laramie.

Chapman and the students worked quickly, in order for the ornaments to mailed out by Oct. 13, the required deadline.

“I knew September was crazy for our students so we just tried to make October our month to work on these,” Chapman said. “Students could only do it before or after school, so we set up a number of days where they could come in and work on the project.”

Chapman hand-picked a few students that were heavily involved in the middle school arts program before letting others take part. 

“Each student made a circle shaped ceramic tile,” Chapman said. “When the clay was soft they textured it so it had interesting patterns. We made the criteria that it needed to represent Wyoming somehow and what makes Wyoming special to them.”

Sixth-grader Owen Wolfe said he made an ornament with the state bird and an ornament with the mountains and a lake.

“It was pretty fun,” Wolfe said. “It was the first time I have ever made something for a different state.”

Classmate Allie Skidgel said she designed her ornaments with mountains, the Devil’s Tower and Wyoming at the top of each.

“It was cool to know they were going to D.C. to be put on the Christmas tree,” Skidgel said “I got a little bit of early Christmas spirit (making them).” 

While Chapman wishes the students could attend the lighting ceremony Nov. 30, she said the travel costs would be too expensive and that the ceremony tickets would be hard to come by. 

“They can only give tickets by lottery,” Champion said. “Even if you lived in Washington D.C. and you wanted to go see it, there is no guarantee you would get to see the live actual ceremony.”

Wolfe and Skidgel, as result, said they hope to watch the ceremony Dec. 4 to see their ornaments on T.V.

The ceremony will be shown exclusively on the Hallmark channel Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. Mountain Time.

Wolfe said, rather or not he sees it, he will have something at home to remember him of the opportunity.

“I got three ornaments done and only two could get put on the tree,” Wolfe said.


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