Students hang ornaments on Statehouse tree


By Jacie Shoaf
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence and first lady Karen Pence welcomed Hoosier elementary school students to the Capitol building on Friday morning to trim the Statehouse Christmas tree.

Kylie Moyotl, 10, of Forest Gen Elementary in Indianapolis hangs a handmade ornament on the Christmas tree at the Statehouse. Several hundred students came to help Gov. Mike Pence and first lady Karen Pence decorate the tree. Photo by Lesley Weidenbener, TheStatehouseFile.com

Kylie Moyotl, 10, of Forest Glen Elementary in Indianapolis, hangs a handmade ornament on the Christmas tree at the Statehouse. Several hundred students came to help Gov. Mike Pence and first lady Karen Pence decorate the tree. Photo by Lesley Weidenbener, TheStatehouseFile.com

Students from Eastbrook Elementary, Zion Lutheran School, Forest Glen Elementary, the Center for Inquiry and the Indiana Math and Science Academy met in the south atrium of the Statehouse for a Christmas program, which included a video about Indiana-grown trees.

The students then hung their ornaments, with help from the governor and first lady, on the 25-foot Colorado Blue Spruce pine tree from the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association.

“They are just excited to be here,” said Kim Knippenberg, a Zion Lutheran teacher who said her fourth graders were delighted when they recognized the Statehouse building from the front of one of their textbooks.

The students each came to the Statehouse with ornaments they had colored and decorated at their schools depicting various pets. Karen Pence, who picked the theme of the tree, said she chose the theme of pets because animals make people feel good and relieve stress, as well as help people.

“I’m excited because I’ve never been here before,” said second-grader Aalihya Banks from the Indiana Math and Science Academy. “I think it’s nice and creative.”

Before the students hung their ornaments, performers from Union Bible College choir sang Christmas carols.

Gov. Pence also read “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” a book Karen Pence said her husband traditionally reads to their three children on Christmas Eve. They also have made a tradition of recording the times they read the story each year on a page in their family’s copy of the book.

“I thought it was a very fun field trip,” said Kaci Ellison, a fourth grade student from Zion Lutheran. “You get to see the governor and the first lady and put up your Christmas ornaments.”

Jacie Shoaf is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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