Students Create Large Christmas Decorations for Their Communities

Six school districts participated in the competition by creating large Christmas decorations to adorn Uptown Somerset for a few weeks. The competition is put together by Somerset Inc. and Laurel Arts.

This year’s theme was “Letters to Santa.” Somerset Inc. Executive Director Regina Coughenour said that a lot of families won’t be able to visit Santa Claus this year, so the theme was chosen to give kids another way to tell Santa what they want under their Christmas tree.

Somerset made a 12-foot mailbox. Rockwood made a giant typewriter. Shanksville made an interactive post office. North Star made spinning elf boxes. Somerset made a sleigh. Turkeyfoot made a worldwide post office box. Shade also signed up, but was not able to complete the project.

“It was so incredible to see the teachers overcome everything with the shutdowns and see the kids come up with the designs,” Coughenour said.

Most of the large decorations will go back to their school districts to decorate their towns. Somerset’s design will return for the holidays for years to come.

“All of them are really, really cool and creative,” Coughenour said. “I think it just speaks to the commitment these teachers have and to the students for completing the project under such extenuating circumstances.”

She said the schools’ projects get bigger and more impressive every

The competition challenges artistic students and engineering students to come together and collaborate. Coughenour said studies show that art and engineering students often run in different circles and don’t interact.

This year’s winners are:

• First: North Star School District

• Second: Shanksville-Stonycreek Area School District

• Third: Rockwood Area School District

•Art Aficionado: tied Somerset Area School District and Turkeyfoot Valley Area School District

•Interactive: Shanksville-Stonycreek Area School District

• Technical: North Star School District

• Creative: tied Rockwood Area School District and Windber Area School District

The sponsors were: Morocco Welding, Blackburn Marine Distributing, Rockwood Casualty Insurance, Highland Tank, Hollern-Koontz Insurance, CME Engineering and Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare.