Old-fashioned tree wins contest

Local high school students recently flexed their decorating skills during Valley Automall's 12th annual Holiday Tree Decorating Contest. The judging took place Dec. 1 inside each of Valley Automall's 17 dealership showrooms. Entries will remain on display through month's end.

"This year's creations are inspirational and imaginative, and really bring the holiday spirit alive," Valley Automall Manager Valorie Staley said. "Student competitors spent a great deal of time, planning and coordination to deliver some stunning tree designs."

Desert Oasis High School's DECA leadership club took home top honors this year, beating out 16 rival squads to secure a $3,000 first place cash prize. The winning team will use the money to send members to the International Career Development Conference being held in Kentucky in April. The winning tree's theme "Getting Back to the Basics" shows old-fashioned handmade Christmas ornaments in traditional colors with strings of popcorn and grandmother knitting by a fireplace. The scene also features 1950s' and 1960s' toys wrapped in paper and twine, as well as cookies and hot chocolate. The tree is available for viewing inside Henderson Chevrolet at 240 N. Gibson Road.

Centennial High School's International Club was this year's runner-up with a giant seatbelt that said, "We Wish You a Safe Drive Home." Surrounding it were hundreds of student signatures that pledged to stop texting and talking on mobile phones while driving. The tree has a blue and white color scheme with license plates and drivers licenses. The team plans to use its $2,000 second place prize toward local charities and ongoing club expenses. The tree is on display at Mercedes-Benz of Henderson at 925 Auto Show Drive.

Third place went to Southeast Career and Technical Academy's Student Latinos Organization for its neon-colored theme of giving. It draws design inspiration from Tim Burton's film, "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Ghosts, zombie snowmen and sinister smiling jack-o-lanterns decorate the tree. The team plans to spend its $1,000 third place prize on education scholarships. The tree is showcased inside Desert Pontiac GMC Buick at 330 N. Gibson Road.

Contestants were provided with a decorating allowance and an evergreen tree. Entries were judged by a five-person panel that included KVVU-TV Fox 5's personalities Dave Hall, Jon Castagnino, Les Krifation and Colleen Ferreica, as well as the Valley Automall Owners Association's Frank Nolimal.

The Holiday Tree Decorating Contest is one of many annual charitable events that the Valley Automall sponsors. The competition helps fund a variety of extracurricular activities for area high schools, including student councils, drama departments and key clubs. Cash awards help pay for field trips, competitions and school supplies otherwise not affordable.

"This event continues to gain momentum every year," Staley said. "The contest has become a highly popular gathering that's a win-win for schools and the community alike."

The Valley Automall is the world's largest automall with more than 185 acres, with thousands of new and used vehicles. The Automall is located in Henderson off of U.S. Highway 93/95 at Auto Show Drive, or exit the Las Vegas Beltway at Gibson Road. For additional information check out the Web site at www.valleyautomall.com.

Valley Automall dealers include Audi Henderson, Chapman Chrysler-Jeep, Courtesy Imports, Courtesy Mazda, Desert BMW, Desert Pontiac-GMC-Buick, Findlay Acura, Findlay Cadillac-Saab, Findlay Honda Henderson, Findlay Toyota, Findlay Volkswagen, Ford Country, Henderson Chevrolet, Henderson Nissan, Mercedes-Benz of Henderson, Saturn of Henderson and Towbin Dodge.


First place
Desert Oasis High SchoolD.E.C.A.Henderson Chevrolet
Second place
Centennial High SchoolInternational ClubMercedes-Benz of Henderson
Third place
Southeast Career Technical AcademyOrganization of LatinosDesert Pontiac GMC Buick
Liberty High SchoolDance TeamAudi Henderson
Clark High SchoolBravoFindlay Acura
Silverado High SchoolMarching BandFindlay Honda
Veterans Tribute Career and Tech AcademyCSI ClubSaturn of Henderson
Valley High SchoolStudent CouncilTowbin Dodge
Green Valley High SchoolStudent CouncilCourtesy Imports
Foothill High SchoolVarsity Dance TeamFindlay Volkswagon
East Career & Technical AcademyD.E.C.AHenderson Nissan
Desert Pines High SchoolDesert Pines Senior ClassChapman Chrysler/Jeep
Del Sol High SchoolStudent CouncilFord Country
Cheyenne High SchoolStudent CouncilFindlay Toyota
Advanced Technologies AcademyJournalismDesert BMW