GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A piece of Christmastime art created by NorthPointe Christian High School students is now standing in the President’s Park near the White House.
A total of 56 trees representing each state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia encircle the national Christmas tree outside the White House as part of the annual America Celebrates holiday program.
The National Parks Service chooses one school from each state to decorate their state’s tree. This year, that honor fell to NorthPointe.
“It was a high-profile project and something that our students were really excited to participate in,” said NorthPointe Christian art teacher Heidi Hudberg. “(It’s) one of our favorite projects this year and a memory that we’ll always have.”
Hudberg applied for the honor in August. A month later, she learned NorthPointe Christian was chosen to decorate the D.C. tree.
Twenty-one students were tasked with transforming 24 blank acrylic bulbs into special tributes to the state.
“I painted the aurora borealis because it’s something you can’t always see in Michigan, but it’s definitely one of the prettier parts of nature,” said Natalie Golden, a senior at NorthPointe Christian High School.
A duplicate of her creation is now hanging on the Christmas tree next to the White House.
“They did put a lot of thought into their designs, and then the execution. It took many hours and different coats and a lot of thought and care went into these,” said Hudberg.
The end result tells the story of Michigan — from the robin to the Mighty Mac to the auto industry.
“Michigan is something that’s always been near and dear to my heart,” said Golden. “And so painting something that is a part of something that people can see, especially representing Michigan, is really cool.”
At the end of a historic week in a town where the spirit of Christmas seems to have taken a back seat to political turmoil, the students hope to create a bright spot — a reminder of the joy and beauty of the season.
“I always like to think of myself as a positive person,” said Golden. “And so being able to be a part of bringing joy to all the people around the U.S. or anyone that sees it, is really cool.”