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Idaho Fifth Grader Isabella Gerard Selected to Light Capitol Christmas Tree

Crapo Made Surprise Announcement Thursday at Boiseâ??s St. Maryâ??s Parish School

BOISE - St. Mary's Parish School Fifth Grader Isabella Gerard has been selected as Idaho's student representative to help light the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington D.C.   Idaho Senator Mike Crapo made the announcement, a surprise to Isabella, during an assembly Thursday before the student body at St. Mary's Parish School in Boise.

Isabella submitted a poem titled "Pristine Idaho Mountains", which was selected at random from more than 200 entries from students across Idaho to a contest held by Crapo and fellow Idaho Senator Jim Risch.  As the contest winner, Isabella will be flown to Washington D.C. to join Crapo and House Speaker Paul Ryan to push the button to light the national tree.  Isabella will be accompanied by her parents, Annalyn and Josh Gerard of Boise. 

This year's U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be cut from Idaho's Payette National Forest.  The tree will travel to Washington and be placed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and will be lit Tuesday, December 6.  Tradition holds that one youth from the state providing the tree serve as a Tree Lighting Helper during the ceremony to illuminate it formally.

"The theme for this year's Christmas tree is "An Idaho Mountain Gem", and I received more than 200 entries from creative students across Idaho expressing that theme and the importance of our national forests," said Crapo.  "I thank all the students who submitted entries for this contest and congratulate Isabella on being selected to help light our Capitol Christmas Tree.  She will serve as an excellent ambassador of Idaho's youth during the lighting to be held in December."

Included here is Isabella's poem.

Pristine Idaho Mountains, By Isabella Gerard

Idaho is blessed with beautiful mountains and immense forests.

In the winter the mountains and forests are covered with snow,

making the landscape look like never ending clouds with skyscrapers covered in snow.

Big tall trees.

Beautiful to look at.

Amazing to see.

Pristine mountains.

As I sit in the forest I find peace.

As the wind blows through the tall ponderosa pines I feel a sense of solitude and peacefulness.

To someone that has never been in an Idaho forest, it is hard to understand the size and beauty.

If only you could be here looking at these beautiful Idaho scenes.

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is organized by Choose Outdoors, a national nonprofit that assists the U.S. Forest Service by developing partnerships and coordinating events throughout the year culminating with the tree's illumination in December.  This year's sponsors of the Capitol Christmas Tree include several Idaho companies.  No taxpayer funds are used for the Tree Lighting Helper contest.

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