VERBOORT — Christmas arrived in October for Visitation Catholic School, as parents and teachers worked with students preparing to enter the annual Christmas card contest hosted by Catholic Charities.
Requirement for the Christmas card artwork naturally was to be of religious theme; an-all-too- easy task for these faith based educated students who spend their day learning about Christianity along with the required curriculum at Visitation Catholic School.
One student in particular took this task to heart as she received third place with her artwork entry. Athena VanDyke, a Visitation fourth grader, joined three additional winners of the contest and was awarded a $50 Fred Meyer Gift Card at the Catholic Charities Donor Luncheon at a downtown Portland hotel.
Archbishop John G. Vlazny was there to pass out the awards and speak to each winner personally.
“I was extremely surprised and excited” was Athena’s reaction when she got the news from her fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Sahlfeld, that she had won. Athena’s artwork was selected from more than 2,000 submissions from students throughout the Archdiocese of Portland, and her Christmas card was distributed by Catholic Charities.
When Visitation presented their idea to have a student design the artwork for their annual Christmas card in December, fifth grader, Colette Heesacker put her talents to work and hands down, created the image that would represent the school’s message to the community with the theme “it’s not the presents, but HIS presence.”
Among the 25 additional entries, Colette’s artwork stood out for its profound message and creative artistry. With Colette’s artwork on the front of the card, and her name being recognized on the back of the card, the Christmas card was sent to approximately 1000 members in the community wishing them a blessed Christmas Season from Visitation Catholic School.