Middle school art students decorate ornaments for display in D.C.

LEWIS COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Students from Robert L. Bland Middle School are having some of their artwork recognized in Washington D.C. during the holiday season.

The students decorated ornaments that will be placed on one of the 56 smaller trees, representing each of our countries’ states, territories, and the District of Columbia that surround the National Christmas tree.

Joe Merrifield, the art teacher at the school, has been preparing for this after the state art director, Dr. Raymond Lowther, asked him if he'd be interested in the opportunity.

"Of course I jumped at the opportunity," Merrifield said. "When I shared it with the kids, they were really excited about the opportunity as well. It's something to be very proud of."

The ornaments have West Virginia's state bird, the red cardinal, on one side and the state of West Virginia painted white and outlined in gold on the other side.

"We got our inspiration from another West Virginia state artist named Charley Harper, so we referenced his work," Merrifield said.

A few ornaments were chosen and have been shipped off to be displayed beginning in December.

The students are proud of the work they put in to receive this opportunity.

"We took our time on this," eighth grader, Destiny Sizemore said.

"I feel amazing because I get to go home and think people are looking at it, and people will appreciate the hard work we put into it for them," eighth grader, Raylea Miller said.

Merrifield agreed. He watched the the dedication the students put into their work.

"They really cared about what they were doing," he said. "I think that will show through on the ornaments and give people something to be proud about whenever they see it."

Eighth grader, Hunter Starett, not only hopes people are proud, but influenced.

"Maybe they could be inspired to maybe do something like that also, if they wanted to," he said.

The official National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will be held on Dec. 5. The ornaments will then go on display Dec. 9 through Jan. 1.