Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

November 29, 2012

A kids’ touch on holiday tree

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — One entire elementary class in Pauls Valley will be right in the middle of some big time holiday activities today at the state Capitol building in Oklahoma City.

Ashley Baxter’s third grade class at Jackson Elementary was one of about three dozen classes chosen throughout the state to participate in the Capitol’s official Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Students will also get the chance to decorate their own tree inside the building with decorations they made themselves.

Jackson Principal Mitzi Winters thinks it’s a pretty big deal for a local class to be chosen to decorate its own 4-foot tree on the third floor of the Capitol building

“I think it’s amazing,” Winters said.

“It’s kind of a big thing,” she said. “We’re representing Pauls Valley. It’s quite an honor to be chosen.

“We’ll go on a Panther bus, and parents are invited to follow us up there.”

The way it all started is emails were sent out to school administrators inviting them to have their teachers apply for the honor of bringing their students up to the state Capitol for the holiday tree decoration activities on Thursday, Nov. 29.

In the end Baxter’s class was one of the few chosen.

“Each year the governor and the state Department of Education get together,” Winters said.

“They have trees inside the Capitol building, and they choose 37 classes in the whole state to come and decorate a tree. Each one has its own tree.”

The principal said the local third-graders were busy this week with the decorations for today’s event.

“They’ve been busy making their own decorations. It’s a red and black color scheme with a vintage Oklahoma theme,” she said, adding it has a kind of western historical flair.

Pauls Valley students are scheduled to decorate their tree around 2:20 p.m.

They will then pose for a group photo with Gov. Mary Fallin and state Superintendent Janet Barresi.

From there students can take part in a number of other activities, like visits with Santa, music, dancing, holiday treats and storytelling.

In the early evening hours students will join others in helping the governor get a 30-foot Christmas tree lit up for the holidays on the Capitol lawn.