Harford County students are making ornaments to decorate four Christmas trees in the Governor's Mansion this year.
Marianne Chambers, supervisor of the art department for Harford public schools, said the students in elementary, middle and high schools will make about 300 decorations.
Frances Hughes Glendening, wife of Gov. Parris N. Glendening, decided to have schoolchildren make decorations this year to "highlight the creativity and artistic ability that is in the public school system," said Sandra Rose, manager of Government House, the mansion where the governor lives.
"The response has been phenomenal," said Ms. Rose, noting that every county in Maryland is participating.
Students were asked to make decorations that would coordinate with the themes of the four, 12-foot trees: Olde World, Children Around the World, the Nutcracker and Victorian, she said.
Bonnie Magee, primary art teacher at the William Paca/Old Post Elementary School, said 16 first-graders and 14 second-graders made felt mittens, angels and nutcrackers for the Christmas trees.
CeeCee Enderson, art teacher at Bel Air Elementary School, incorporated the ornaments into the school's art curriculum by teaching a multicultural lesson about the Seminole Indian tribe. Her class of 26 fourth-graders made Seminole Indian dolls to decorate the Children Around the World tree.
It is easy to incorporate and teach such a lesson, because the children are "thirsty for it," Ms. Enderson said.
Mrs. Glendening will send every student who participates a letter and invitation to view their artwork in the Governor's Mansion on Dec. 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Ms. Rose said. The students are also invited to bring their families to the public open house for refreshments and entertainment.
"It's really nice for the kids to get to see their artwork somewhere else than hanging on the refrigerator, especially when it's in the Governor's Mansion," Ms. Magee said.