WEIRTON - Students at St. Joseph the Worker Grade School are preparing for the holiday season and honoring the nation's military as part of a statewide contest organized by West Virginia's first lady.
Each year, to coincide with the Joyful Night celebration in Charleston, a contest is held where schools are invited to create ornaments for display during the festivities. In its seventh year, the contest currently is being spearheaded by West Virginia first lady Joanne Tomblin.
Nancy Wright, art teacher at St. Joseph the Worker Grade School, said each class at the school has designed an ornament reflecting the "Military" theme of this year's contest.
SPECIAL ORNAMENTS — Students from St. Joseph the Worker Grade School recently created military themed ornaments for the State Capitol Christmas Tree as part of an annual statewide contest. Students helping to display some of the ornaments include kindergarten student Marissa Mascio, first grader Sophia Zanieski, second grader Gavin Stonebraker, third grader Nick Elias, fourth grader James Littleton, fifth grader Addie Backel, sixth grader Gia Fuscardo, seventh grader Abrianna Fuscardo and eighth grader Lea Colantonio. -- Craig Howell
Wright explained this year's theme has a special meaning for the school.
"We have so many from St. Joseph Parish serving in the military," Wright said.
Many of the ornaments designed by the students depict a red, white and blue color scheme, with stickers and other decorations reflective of the various branches of the U.S. military. One of the ornaments includes pictures of local military personnel.
All of the ornaments will be put on display on the Christmas Tree to be located in the Capitol Rotunda for public viewing as part of the contest.
"She makes sure every ornament hangs," Wright said of Tomblin, explaining those selected as winners are displayed in the governor's mansion.
Wright noted the school has had an ornament selected as a winner before, explaining the current sixth grade class won the contest when they were in kindergarten.
"We helped light up the Christmas tree at the Capitol," Wright explained.
Ornaments entered in the contest will be divided into categories based on grade level, with judging including kindergarten to second grade, third grade to fifth grade, sixth grade to eighth grade and ninth grade to 12th grade.
The four winning classes will receive a $125 gift certificate to assist with the purchase of art supplies for their school. After the holidays, the winning ornaments will be donated to the West Virginia State Museum to be included in its permanent collection.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)