Valley Pathways High School's artistic talents on display in front of White House

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Valley Pathways High School in Palmer, AK is getting national recognition this holiday season. The National Park Service chose the school to help decorate Alaska’s state tree that is now on display in front of the White House.

Valley Pathways High School in Palmer, AK is getting national recognition this holiday season. (Source: Gray DC)

Robin Lockwood teaches math and science at Valley Pathways. But this holiday season she wanted to bring out the artistic side in her students.

“Being able to provide them with a creative outlet was really awesome,” said Lockwood.

She applied months ago to be the class that decorates ornaments for Alaska’s state tree on the south side of the White House. Lockwood says her students were stunned when they got the good news.

“They’re so excited to be able to represent Alaska in Washington, D.C.,” said Lockwood.

Alaska themes cover the tree, showing off the Last Frontier’s natural beauty and iconic landmarks. Lockwood says they started the project from an earth science and geometry perspective before breaking out the art supplies.

“To be able to teach all of those different aspects are just ways that we can teach our future generations,” said Lockwood.

Every state and territory participates in this holiday tradition. NPS says they have been decorating the so-called “Pathway of Peace” south of the White House since 1954.

“It’s amazing to just watch them look at their ornaments and take pictures with them...they just have smiles on their faces,” said Cook.

She says NPS teams up with the Department of Education to choose the schools around the country. Cook says bringing each state and territory together plants a sense of community in front of the White House.

“This is a celebration that is countrywide and it’s also in a national park that belongs to everyone,” said Cook.

All decorators are invited to be on hand when the official tree lighting takes place Thursday night.

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