Students at the Ideal Academy Public Charter School were given VIP tickets to the lighting of the National Christmas Tree as their reward for designing ornaments for the tree.
“It was amazing to be that close to the President and his family,” said Micah Stewart, one of the student ornament designers. “We know that most kids our age will never have that opportunity and we are profoundly grateful for that experience.”
Patricia Smith, local artist and art teacher at Ideal Academy, was selected by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work with students to create 24 ornaments for the Washington D.C. tree.
“The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities is proud that Ideal Academy Public Charter School will be representing Washington, D.C. in this year’s National Christmas Tree display,” said Lionell Thomas, executive director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
But nothing could match the excitement of the students. “We were honored and thrilled to be a part of something so important and historical,” said Edwin Zelaya, another student who worked on the ornaments. “Who would have ever thought that our small school would be representing D.C.?”
Smith said being selected was special to the students, who attend a small school with funding challenges.
“It was a special distinction and honor for us because we at Ideal Academy believe that the arts play a pivotal role in how we learn about the world and how we express our ideas and dreams,” she said. “We were excited to be a part of the National Christmas Tree display because it provided us with a spectacular canvas to celebrate the diversity of D.C.’s neighborhoods and the accomplishments of its residents.”
The ornaments’ theme was love and appreciation for Washington and the amazing attractions and history offered to residents and visitors. Using origami-style designs in the shape of stars, snowflakes, orbs and hearts, the students showcased the District’s national monuments, people and neighborhoods.