Homeschooler to Light U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree

A homeschool student will light this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree with new House Speaker Paul Ryan at a special ceremony on Wednesday, December 2.

Anna Kathleen DeVolld, a 5th grade student who lives in Soldotna, Alaska, and is a member of the Connections Home School Program, earned her trip to Washington, D.C., by winning an essay contest started by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who chose Anna’s essay over 400 other students who answered the question “Why is it special to have a Christmas tree from Alaska?”

“I didn’t expect to win,” Anna told the Peninsula Clarion, a daily newspaper serving the Kenai Peninsula on Alaska’s southern coast.

This year's tree is the first Capitol Christmas Tree from Alaska. The 74' Lutz spruce was found in the Chugach National Forest in south central Alaska and made a 4,000-mile expedition by land and by sea.

“It’s so exciting Anna gets to represent the children of Alaska and the pride we have in our state,” DeVolld’s mother Shona said. “We are fourth-generation Alaskans. It just means so much to us as a family to be able to go and represent Alaska and show how proud we are to live in such a beautiful and amazing state.”

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree has been a yearly tradition since 1964. This year’s tree is decorated in thousands of handcrafted ornaments from Alaskan communities and will be lit each night through January 1, 2016.

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