GUERNSEY—Normally filled with students working on computers, reading or visiting with friends, the Guernsey-Sunrise High School commons area became a virtual Christmas tree forest last Wednesday evening as the newest addition to the Winter’s Eve lineup made its debut.
“The Parade of Trees” was sponsored by the Tri-City Parks and Recreation and Guernsey-Sunrise Community Education. Individuals, businesses or organizations were invited to decorate a Christmas tree that could, at the owner’s discretion, be auctioned off at the end of the evening. All entries were displayed in the commons area and the public was allowed to purchase voting tickets at 50 cents each and cast their ballots in three categories—People’s Choice, Relevance to Theme and Non-Traditional.
At the close of the evening, designated trees were auctioned off with the proceeds reinvested in the organizations or donated to a variety of benefit funds including the Lions Club Christmas project, lunch ticket program at school and others.
Thirteen entries in a variety of sizes and styles revealed the amount of imagination that can be found when the boundaries are far and wide.
And after all the votes were counted, the People’s Choice tree honors went to the Bristow Built Construction entry put together by Lisa Bristow and Kathy Martinez. The tree was full-size, adorned with detailed ornaments depicting scenes or items from The Polar Express story. A three-car model train circled the base of the tree on a black railroad track.
Clearly noticed by the voters, the Bristow Built Construction tree also earned the first place award for Relevance to Theme.
A tree entered by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America student organization, also known as G-S FCCLA picked up the other major award as the outstanding Non-Traditional decorated tree. This entry was a traditional tree with a red jacket over the top portion giving the appearance of a woman’s fitted top and skirt outfit.
FCCLA provides personal growth, leadership development, and career preparation opportunities for students in Family and Consumer Sciences education. The advisor for FCCLA is Val Mills.
Trees were also entered by Tesha Frederick with a wooden math-themed tree; a tumbleweed tree by Val Mills; a table-top Polar Express tree by Guernsey-Sunrise Art Club, Tri-City Parks and Rec (three trees—a gingerbread-themed tree, a table-top white flocked child’s tree, and a full-size traditional tree with elegant streamers and ornaments of gold and silver), G-S Community Ed tree, made with a toddler in mind with all felt construction, stuffed ornaments fastened with Velcro; a traditional, angel-topped, table-top tree by Tammy Hohnholt; the G-S Tech Trades Class who built a set of four wood trees painted green with a Polar Express sign; a traditional table-top tree with a train around the base by Dee Delgado from the Guernsey Hotel; and the G-S Library who entered a library-themed tree complete with paper link garland made from miscellaneous prints.
Lori Ibarra, director for Tri-City Parks and Rec, said the idea for the Parade of Trees was inspired by a similar event held in Gillette. “We’re hoping to build on this year’s great response,” said Ibarra. “We’d like to have more businesses participate next year.” Ibarra said the event has grown to be a huge fundraiser in Gillette, with a first place tree auctioned off for $60,000. “The businesses designate who they will benefit prior to the event so people will know who their money will go to if they buy the tree in the auction. The tree that was sold for $60,000 was designated to benefit the hospital so they could buy a specific piece of equipment the hospital needed. We could really help a lot of people here in our own community with this event.”
Ibarra has already presented a check to the Lions Club for proceeds from the tree auction.