NAWILIWILI — Two votes separated the first and second place decorated Christmas trees at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club lobby, said Enoch Aana of Pele’s Weddings and Events on Monday afternoon.
The announcement was made when representatives of the five schools participating in the fourth Christmas Tree Decorating Contest gathered in the Kauai Marriott lobby to share the results of the contest voting that took place through December on Christmas trees donated by Corteva Agriscience.
Kalaheo Elementary School topped the voting with 43 votes, and combined with additional donations, was presented with $1,415, the total being enhanced by a $5,000 contribution from The Maria and Gary Ridge Foundation at The San Diego Foundation.
“Maria and Gary are in Fiji right now,” Aana said. “They were here getting married, and when they learned of the program, contributed $1,000 to each of the participating schools. They really wanted to be here to meet all of you because they want better futures for young people.”
The addition of the Maria and Gary Ridge Foundation contribution brings the total awards to $6,150, the biggest amount shared over the four-year history of the Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.
“And they want to keep doing this,” Aana said. “Maybe next year, we can arrange to have them meet you people at your respective schools.”
Following Kalaheo School, representatives of King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School were awarded $1,305, and the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Media Class getting $1,200.
The Elsie Wilcox Elementary School was awarded $1,130 for its 20 votes, and the Waimea Canyon Middle School earned $1,100.
Following the awards, school representatives set out to clear the trees and enjoy refreshments provided by the Kauai Marriott.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.