Local teacher shares experience of decorating the White House for Christmas

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EDMONTON, Ky. (WBKO) -- A local teacher is sharing his experience about decorating the White House this year for Christmas now that he's returned home to Kentucky.

Just before Thanksgiving, 13 News covered a story about Jay White, a kindergarten teacher from Metcalfe County who was selected for this honor. For that original story, click here.

Mr. Jay said around 100 volunteers were chosen out of a pool of 7,000 applicants, and he happened to be one of the lucky ones.

"It's just breath-taking if you saw it in person, I mean the pictures don't do it justice," he said.

Over the three day span he spent at the White House, Mr. Jay said volunteers were divided up into teams and each member had a specific task.

"Some people in my team, they were from all over, one was from Florida, Ohio, Indiana, there was another lady there from Kentucky -- she was from the Lexington area."

Mr. Jay said his primary role was putting the lights on some of the trees, including the Christmas tree in the Oval Office. He said each strand of lights had to be just right.

"We worked on a tree for eight hours, then we were inspected by the head designer and each branch had to be wrapped in florist wire and we twisted it to make it look like it was the branch. And they were real trees so they were full trees, not like artificial ones."

He said it took four hours to decorate the tree in the Oval Office.

Because of their access to the White House, security was also something that was stressed to the volunteers.

"On a regular day we had to have our I.D. checked twice and we had to go through a metal detector. On the day of our reception on Monday (with the First Lady) we had our I.D. checked four times, we went through three metal detectors and a dog had to sniff us before we could go into the White House," he said.

He said this opportunity is something he won't forget, but just as important, he hopes his kindergarten students learn from it as well.

"In kindergarten we teach about the national symbols, so the White House was one of the places that I've never been and actually that would've been my final national monument that I haven't been to so it was just amazing to be there and the culture and the history in the White House because those were the places where Abraham Lincoln and other great presidents had walked and just to feel that, it was great. The decorating was good but it was everything else that made it," he explained.

Mr. Jay said he's also speaking with several other classes and community organizations to share his experience.

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