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East Campus places 1st in Christmas tree decoration contest

East Campus, embracing a strong environmental theme, won 1st Place in this year’s Christmas tree decoration contest. Teachers and students at the winning campus decorated their Christmas tree with symbols of penguins and polar bears and the message “Preserve Our World.”

Northeast Campus, with a “Christmas Wish” presentation, came in a close second and Southwest Campus, which paid tribute to a “Tennessee Country Christmas,”  was in third place. The judging results mean East Campus will be rewarded with a $500 school party/Dress Down Day, Northeast will host a pizza party and Southwest will have a Dress Down Day.

“The judges thought your presentation was outstanding and the students did an excellent job,” Dr. M. Annette Cluff, Varnett’s superintendent, told East Campus Director Gayle Voltz when the announcement was made.  She said the judging was “really close” as she praised all three campuses for their work and inspiration.

The judging was based on:

--Originality: Unique design and creative use of lights and decorations.

--Arrangements: Display and placement of decorations.

--Theme:  Story line or scene

--Overall Presentation.

The judges were Joi Beasley, president of  GoGo Business Services; Vernita Harris, president of IMPACT Strategies Consultants and Alsie Cluff III, Varnett’s assistant  facilities coordinator.

According to Ms Voltz,  the penguin and polar bear decorations underscore an environmental message. “The theme was about going green to save not only the North Pole but the world,” she said. “Our tree ornaments were made out of recycled materials, which was our way of going green.”

A flier explaining the theme said: "As you know penguins live in the South Pole and polar bears live in the North Pole. The North Pole is melting due to carelessness of humans and threatens Santa's home. Our tree represents the North and South poles and how the North Pole is saved when the penguins come to the rescue."

The Northeast Campus “Christmas Wish” theme provided some touching moments as some children made some very personal wishes for themselves and the people they know. One wish read "I wish Mrs. Cluff and family a Merry Christmas."

 “This tree shows that every child has a dream in his or her heart and they do not always wish for material things,” said Sheila Nelson, a third-grade teacher who under the guidance of campus director Dora Morrow headed the project. “Everybody worked on the tree and they learned that it takes a family to work together. That’s what Christmas is all about: being part of a family.”

At Southwest, campus director Twilet Alexander said the Tennessee Country Christmas project was a year in the making. “We want to expose our students to different cultures...and different genres of music,” she said. In decorating the tree students used Styrofoam, baby food bottles, paper, cardboard, rope and hay. They also used fallen leaves from trees and pens to make flowers.

Pictures at right (from top), East, Northeast and Southwest.

Click here for Southwest Campus pictures
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