Utah kids deck out the Governor's mansion with decor

Published 12/03 2013 05:11PM

Updated 12/03 2013 06:22PM

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - Hundreds of students from Stewart Elementary decorated the first family's tree with international flair today.

"We are excited to have you here," Jeanette Herbert said as the students walked in. "Let's get to it, let's decorate this tree."

The students were promptly put to work, decorating a large Christmas tree inside the Governor's Mansion library.

"It's an exciting time of year," Herbert said.

The Herberts selected the third and fourth graders from Centerville because they have a unique gift.  They speak Chinese. 

As part of a Chinese immersion program they speak the language several hours a day.  They also had the opportunity to enhanced their knowledge of Chinese culture by spending hours making traditional Chinese ornaments for today's event.

"We're so glad Utah has this program really," said Suya Le.  As a teacher at Stewart Elementary she told ABC4 Utah that language skills are vital for success.
Governor Herbert agreed.  With a group of students hanging ornaments he said, "Say it with me... if you want a good job, get an education." 

Hey may be right.  Right not there are more than 120 Chinese immersion programs across the country.  Students enrolled often test better on average than those enrolled in the average public school.

To see Stewart Elementary students' hand made ornaments you can visit the Governor's Mansion.  It is open for public tours every Tuesday and Thursday from two to four o'clock in the afternoon.  Christmas decorations will be displayed now through Christmas Day.

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