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New Horizon students' Festival of Trees entry is different kind of monstrous

Festival of Trees Monsters Inc.

By Jeff Papworth

POCATELLO — A New Horizon High School class made delightfully scary designs for the Festival of Trees in past years, but their entry this year sent the message that there is little to fear.

The class, called Creative Process, adopted its current theme from the popular children’s movie “Monsters, Inc.” in which the monsters decide to make children laugh instead of scream.

The non-scary tree was for sale at the 10th annual Festival of Trees, presented by the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25 Education Foundation. The event opened to the general public on Wednesday and ran through Saturday at the Stephens Performing Arts Center.

New Horizon’s theme follows its intricately designed trees for the films, “Dark Crystal” and “Nightmare before Christmas” presented at previous Festival of Trees events.

The class presented children-targeted themes to its classmates, who decided on “Monsters, Inc.” via voting.

“It’s more appropriate and the kids would enjoy it and that’s what we were looking for,” said New Horizon junior Hallie Phipps. “(The film) shows you there’s not much to be afraid of.”

Six New Horizon students worked on the project in the six-week long class taught by art teacher Mark Daniels.

“Mr. Daniels is one of my favorite teachers, and I thought helping out would be really great,” Phipps said. “With how small the class was, we did really good because everybody was constantly working. It wasn’t like we had someone sit there for a little bit and not do anything.”

The three major characters made by the class sat beside the tree, which featured an array of doorway ornaments that were an illustration of the entry from the childrens’ bedrooms into the monsters’ facility.

Phipps spent a lot of her time making Boo, the human protagonist in the movie. She started with two metal trash cans and went from there. She helped braid a mop for Boo’s hair.

Tying their project to the Festival of Trees, the students made the door ornaments with the help of a Glowforge engraver that the school purchased with a grant from money raised at the annual event.

“So through the people and support of the community attending we were able to get this cool piece of technology,” Daniels said. “So we wanted to use that technology in the building of this tree as a thank you for the technology that we got through the festival.”

The project was also assisted by the community. Flowers by L.D. donated the artificial tree, Habitat for Humanity Restore donated the doorway that stood behind the tree and Simplot provided a $200 grant.

This marks the eighth year that Daniels has taught a class involved with the Festival of Trees.

He said it’s an essential class because the alternative school doesn’t offer the traditional extracurricular activities in which the school is represented, as with sports.

“I feel this is an awesome opportunity for them because they get to do something the whole public gets to see,” Daniels said. “They get to do something that is kind of monumental every year. I think that helps with the students’ buy-in, to want to do good work and want to create something really neat and memorable.”

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