Support our mission
 
For the first time, three schools from the Department of Defense Education Activity have student-designed ornaments hanging on one of 58 trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree display in Washington, D.C. The DODEA tree displays 24 ornaments submitted by students at Vogelweh Elementary School in Germany, Humphreys High School in South Korea and Ramey Unit School in Aguadilla Puerto Rico.
For the first time, three schools from the Department of Defense Education Activity have student-designed ornaments hanging on one of 58 trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree display in Washington, D.C. The DODEA tree displays 24 ornaments submitted by students at Vogelweh Elementary School in Germany, Humphreys High School in South Korea and Ramey Unit School in Aguadilla Puerto Rico. (President’s Park/White House Visitor Center)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Holiday decorations in the U.S. capital have a touch of Tannenbaum thanks to American children in Germany who designed ornaments that are hanging alongside the National Christmas Tree.

Students from Vogelweh Elementary School in Kaiserslautern are among the first from a Defense Department school to have their artwork included in the high-profile display.

The artwork is part of the America Celebrates ornament program, a project funded by the National Park Foundation to highlight and celebrate the places that American students call home.

The foundation collaborates with the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Education to hold the annual program.

For the first time, three schools from the Department of Defense Education Activity have student-designed ornaments hanging on one of 58 trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree display in Washington, D.C.
For the first time, three schools from the Department of Defense Education Activity have student-designed ornaments hanging on one of 58 trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree display in Washington, D.C. (President’s Park/White House Visitor Center)

The Vogelweh students, who were chosen through a contest held at the school, drew castles and German and American flags together, among other things that represent their experience in Germany, said Edith Allison, the school’s visual arts teacher.

The ornaments created from the Vogelweh students’ drawings are hanging on one of 58 smaller trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree and will be on display through Jan. 1.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden lit the 27-foot-tall fir earlier this month on the Ellipse in President’s Park.

Leaders in each of the Department of Defense Education Activity’s three regions were asked to submit a school for participation, said Stephen Smith, a spokesman for DODEA Europe. Vogelweh was chosen because of the school’s strong arts program, he said.

Humphreys High School in South Korea and Ramey Unit School in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, are also participating. The DODEA tree holds 24 ornaments, eight from each school.

Each of Vogelweh’s seven grades, from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, could submit one design. To get to eight, the school took an additional design from first grade, which had luck on its side. 

“We rolled the dice. It came up No. 1,” Allison said.

author headshot
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up