SAN GABRIEL, CA – Gabrielino High School students hand-painted 24 Christmas ornaments to decorate a tree in the 2018 National Christmas Tree experience – the only California school selected and one of just 56 across the country.

Gabrielino High was chosen to represent California in the display, in which the 6-foot trees surround the 48-foot National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in President’s Park in Washington D.C.

The students’ ornaments gleam with red and orange snowflakes, the California poppy and palm tree silhouettes whose green fronds are replaced by the outlines of snowflakes.

“I liked that there was a lot of creative freedom in decorating our ornaments, although we did have to work with a limited color palette, which made it a little challenging,” Gabrielino High senior Sharron Chang said.

The 56 trees represent each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia as part of the “America Celebrates” display.

“Our globes are turning out beautifully, and I am sure that we will produce a tree that all of California can be proud of,” Gabrielino art teacher Emmett Suess said.

The U.S. Department of Education worked with the National Park Service – which funded the project – and state and art education agencies to identify participating middle and high schools. Ultimately, the state of California reviewed applications from middle and high schools and decided on Gabrielino for its award winning visual and performing arts program.

The project allows Gabrielino High students to showcase their artistic talents on a national level.

Previously, Gabrielino’s visual and performing arts (VAPA) program received statewide recognition, garnering a 2017 Exemplary Program Award in addition to its Gold Ribbon school status.

“We are honored that our students will represent the state of California in Washington, D.C. this winter and have the utmost confidence that their artistic talent will showcase our district and our state well,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “Congratulations to Gabrielino High students and staff on this national recognition.”


SANGAB_ORNAMENT_1: Ornaments painted by Gabrielino High art students will represent California in the 2018 National Christmas tree experience on the Ellipse in President’s Park in Washington, D.C.

SANGAB_ORNAMENT_2: Gabrielino High senior Ghia Pacheco decorates an ornament employing an orange and red color palette to adorn the California Christmas tree in President’s Park in Washington, D.C.

SANGAB_ORNAMENT_3: Gabrielino High art teacher Emmett Suess and students show off ornaments they created to adorn California’s Christmas tree in the 2018 National Christmas tree experience on the Ellipse in President’s Park in Washington, D.C.