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Elementary school students bring Christmas cheer to airport travellers

Students decorate Christmas trees at Vancouver International Airport as part of an annual decorating contest.  -
Students decorate Christmas trees at Vancouver International Airport as part of an annual decorating contest.
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Local students are spreading Christmas cheer to the world—and it all started in the classroom.

The crafty creations of students from 30 elementary school classes in Metro Vancouver—many from Richmond—are decorating a series of Christmas trees at Vancouver International Airport’s International Terminal this busy holiday season.

It’s part of the Vancouver Airport Authority’s 14th annual tree decorating contest. Students first got to work in their classrooms, designing everything from reindeers made of squished cans and origami to It’s part of the Vancouver Airport Authority’s 14th annual tree decorating contest.globes and angels. Then late last month they converged on the terminal to trim trees.

The trees have since been hung from columns lining the arrivals area of the terminal.

Trees with the most votes from a panel of airport concession managers will net prizes for the classes behind the creativity.

The contest—now in its final year—has proven fun for the kids, while providing a lesson about families in need. Students collected over 300 non-perishable food items and local businesses sponsored trees at $300 each—all supporting Quest Food Exchange and its efforts to help low-income families this Christmas.

“Not only does this program create a festive spirit at YVR, but it also helps us give back to our community thanks in a large part to our partners who sponsor the trees,” said Christopher Gilliland, manager of retail sales and service programs at the airport. “Last year, we raised $9,000 for Quest Food Exchange to provide holiday hampers to families in need around Metro Vancouver. We hope to raise a similar amount this year.”

Last year William Bridge Elementary’s Grade 2/3 class won top honours, while James Whiteside Elementary and James Gilmore Elementary were named runners-up.

This is the final year of the contest. Airport officials say they’re looking at new programs for 2013 to invest in the community.

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