WIMS Represents Wyoming for National Christmas Tree

WIMS Represents Wyoming for National Christmas Tree

Wyoming Indian Middle School was selected to represent Wyoming along with 56 other US schools to create ornaments for the National Christmas Tree Celebration in Washington, D.C. 

Jenn RunsCloseToLodge, WIMS librarian, first found out that they were selected in September.  

“We received a call from the Wyoming State Dept of Education in September. They let us know we had been selected and more information from the National Park Service would be forthcoming,” said RunsCloseToLodge.

RunsCloseToLodge gathered with three students and they met after school to talk about the big news. National Park Service sent 24 ornaments (each bigger than a softball and opens vertically) to them. She and her students did some research to look up last year’s ornaments. They were told they could paint the inside, outside or put things inside. 

RunCloseToLodge also discussed this opportunity with some middle school students on design ideas mainly focusing on 8th graders, but it was also open to other students who wanted to help. All in all, 16 students helped with the ornament. After some discussion, they agreed on using a horse as a design. 

“Horses are important to Native people in that they allowed us to travel great distances, hunt, protect our families and homes, and were considered a sign of wealth. We wanted to educate people not only about Wyoming, but also about the tribes that Wyoming is home to,” says RunsCloseToLodge. 

Previous artwork designs from RunsCloseToLodge’s Native Arts classes were involved in the process. The students selected a horse design and chose the colors. They had to discuss the size of the horse and a way to suspend it within the ornament.

 “It was important that we did everything in order,” RunsCloseToLodge said. 

They used a Cricut machine to cut the horses that a middle school student, Dante Shakespeare, drew. They used heavy watercolor paper, made stencils so the horses would be similar in design, painted horses, and then decorated each ornament with glitter, suspended the horses with Tippett line (fishing line) and then sealed them. They finished by making bows and attaching them to the ornament. It took 30 hours of working during and after school and they had everything finished by October 30th. 

“We would like to thank Mr. St Clair and Mr. Gion for being so supportive, also Mrs. Robin Vail in the business office for making sure all our supplies came in,” RunsCloseToLodge added. 

If you would like to see all the ornaments from each state, you can click here.