First Lady Cathy Justice provides overview of Christmas Trees at Capitol Complex; announces winners of student ornament competition


CHARLESTON, WV – First Lady Cathy Justice took time today, both to provide an overview of all the various Christmas Trees that will be on display at the West Virginia Capitol Complex in Charleston throughout the holiday season, and to announce the winners of the First Lady Student Ornament Competition.

The various Christmas Trees were first unveiled by the First Lady, alongside Gov. Jim Justice, during the 2020 Joyful Night celebration, which was held virtually earlier this week.
The full 2020 Joyful Night celebration is available to view online at any time. The celebration will also be rebroadcast on television next Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, at 8:30 p.m., on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Channel. Find your WVPB station here.
The Joyful Night event included the traditional lighting of the State Christmas Tree by Governor and First Lady Justice.
This year’s tree, which is currently on display on the north side of the Capitol Building, was furnished by Raymond and Melinda Dowdy of Tornado, WV. Raymond, a Navy Veteran, donated the tree in honor of all Veterans across West Virginia.
In addition, there are four Honor Trees decorated in honor of West Virginia’s First Responders, Gold Star Families, Military and Veterans, and Healthcare Workers.
The Honor Trees can be seen daily in the front lawn of the Governor’s Mansion near Kanawha Boulevard and are lit nightly at 6 p.m. 

“COVID-19 posed a special challenge for us to continue the tradition of showcasing our Honor Trees this year,” First Lady Justice said. “My staff and the very talented team at the Department of Arts, Culture and History, led by Curator Randall Reid-Smith, came up with a design for unique two-dimensional trees that could be displayed outdoors. We also added a Healthcare Workers tree because they also deserve to be honored.

“I encourage everyone to take time and drive by the Governor’s Mansion to see the trees lit up at night,” First Lady Justice continued.

“We jumped at the chance to collaborate with First Lady Justice in creating a meaningful tribute to those who are so deserving,” Curator Reid-Smith said. “My team and hers were both inspired to commemorate these four groups with dignity and honor.”
There are also four Communities In Schools Trees, which are decorated with ornaments made by students from all 23 counties in the CIS program.
These trees can be viewed in the Great Hall of both the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates chambers.

“I am very excited to highlight my education initiative, Communities In Schools,” First Lady Justice said. “This is our third year of the CIS initiative and decorating trees that feature ornaments made by our students, combined with traditional holiday decor. Looking at these Christmas trees has truly become one of my favorite traditions. This year, we added a fourth Communities In Schools tree to accommodate the 11 new CIS counties across West Virginia.”
Additionally, the 2020 West Virginia Artistree, which is adorned with ornaments celebrating Healthcare Workers, is currently on display in the Great Hall of the State Culture Center.
“Choosing a Healthcare Workers theme for the Artistree Competition was absolutely the right thing to do this year to highlight all our unsung heroes”, the First Lady said. “I am so proud of the 69 participants who made an ornament for the Artistree and I encourage everyone who can to visit this special tree.”
Finally, the First Lady Student Ornament Competition winners can also be seen in the Great Hall of the State Culture Center.

The First Lady Student Ornament Competition had 64 participants this year; 29 of the ornaments were submitted by classes and 35 of the ornaments were submitted by individual students.

“I am touched by the response for our Student Ornament Competition this year,” First Lady Justice said. “I know this year has been very different for our teachers and students, but I am glad to see so many still participated. I can see the creativity and hard work that was put into these beautiful ornaments from students and classrooms across our state.”

Each winning classroom will be awarded a $100 gift card for art supplies. The winners of the four age groups are below:
1st Grade Class
Mrs. Amy Reinhart, Teacher
Johnson Elementary School
3rd Grade Class
Ms. Brittany Cleghon, Teacher
Lewisburg Elementary School
Karsyn Noe, 6th Grade
Ms. Scarlette Moore, Teacher
Burch PreK-8
Isabella Adkins, Ceramic I
Leslee Smith, Teacher
Huntington High School

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