The little school was tasked with a big assignment, to create Wyoming's ornaments for the National Christmas Tree display in Washington D.C.. Amanda Cornelius teaches K-12 Art at Lingle-Fort Laramie, and said the request took them by surprise, and they were excited about the honor and the opportunity.

"I don't know what the process was that little Lingle got chosen for it, but it was a neat chance for our kids to be a part of something pretty big," said Cornelius, adding that it was an honor. "The kids were excited, you know 'the real tree in Washington D.C.?' and I was like 'that is the tree!'"

According to 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 ornaments.

Cornelius says the middle and high school students sat down to brainstorm whether they wanted to do individual ornaments or a matching set, and what they could do to best represent the state. They decided to incorporate the nearby University of Wyoming, where a lot of their students eventually attend.

"So we thought, what if we did a theme that was the Wyoming Cowboys with the University of Wyoming colors and then we could each mix our own kind of globes," said Cornelius, "and so we did kind of an abstract paint mix glove and then we had the Industrial Arts kids kind of finagle this really cool golden duct tape Wyoming Cowboy that they cut with the laser cutter out there."

She said the creative conversation was a "neat" part of the process, and the kids had a great time. "It was kind of a Santa's workshop almost, we had kind of an assembly line of students and bows and pens and paint and we just say down and they really enjoyed it."

The 23 ornaments were carefully packed up and shipped off to Washington D.C. In all, 56 schools from across the country were chosen to create handcrafted ornaments to adorn the 56 trees that surround the National Christmas Tree. Each represents a U.S. State, territory, and the District of Columbia as part of the "America Celebrates" display.

Wyoming Ornaments 2018

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