Festival of Trees celebrates season, supports local schools
TAVARES – Students from across the district are busy decorating themed trees that will be on display throuhout the holiday season at the 2018 Festival of Trees at The Lake Square Mall. In December, they will be auctioned off to the highest bidders with all proceeds going to the Educational Foundation of Lake County to support Lake County Schools.
The trees will showcase the artistic talent of our elementary, middle and high school students, while also promoting the schools. Included is a tree decorated by Eustis Middle School AVID students with a theme that reflects Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Lake Minneola High School art students are decorating a tree in their school colors, gold and green; Umatilla Middle is planning a “Tiger Pride” tree, and Lake Technical College has a tree with ornaments depicting the many areas of study they offer. Many other trees are in the works.
"We are excited to be a part of this festive event to help usher in the holiday season,” said Lake County Schools Superintendent Diane Kornegay, M.Ed. “Our students are among the most talented and creative anywhere, and I'm looking forward to seeing the decorations they design. I invite the community to come out, view the trees, hear some good music from our choral groups and bid on a tree to take home. Proceeds will go right back into our schools to support our art and music programs. I can't think of a better gift than to help support the education of our students."
The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. Elected officials from local government and the school district will be present. School Board member Bill Mathias said he wouldn't miss it. "I was proud to see us bring art and music back to our elementary schools this year, a change that has been welcomed by students, parents and staff alike,'' he said. "It's wonderful to see our students learning to embrace and appreciate the arts, and I am so grateful to Lake Square Mall and Marketing Director Anna Marie Chwastiak for providing this opporunity to showcase our students and what they are learning."
Trees will remain on display through Dec. 9. Guests can enjoy music from school choirs and other perfomers while they take in the beauty of the trees and bid on those they'd like to take home. At 2 p.m. on Dec. 9, winners of the trees will be announced.
"The mall couldn't think of a better way to bring the Spirit of the Season to the Square than through the eyes of our local students," said Anna Marie Chwastiak, spokesperson for the mall.
The Lake Square Mall partnered with two other Leesburg companies, Lowes and Cecil Clark Chevrolet, to bring this project to life.
"The holidays are a magical time of the year for children in Lake County and that is why Cecil Clark Chevrolet is thrilled to be the official sponsor of the Festival of Trees event," said Joseph Clark of Cecil Clark Chevrolet. "We can't wait to see all the decorated trees, support the arts and celebrate this special time of year wiht our fellow Lake County friends and neighbors."