Harlem students visit D.C. to see their ornaments from the National Chritsmas Tree display

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WASHINGTON (WIFR) -- Folks in Washington D.C. are realizing when it comes to tree decorating, there's no place like Harlem for the holidays.

Harlem Middle School students and staff made the trip to the nation's capitol to kick off the 97th annual National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

The display includes 56 trees, each one adorning hand-crafted ornaments from students in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and other U.S. territories.The ornaments on the Illinois tree came from Harlem Middle School.

Harlem's design consists of a four-strand braid representing people as beautiful and different on their own, but stronger together. It also has also a white oak leaf as a symbol of strength and hearts that represents love and compassion and the school's roots in Loves Park.

"Yeah, just going home with this opportunity was kind of unbelievable," says Harlem student Zoey Peterson. "I had to talk my mom into coming here, but it's honestly great to be able to see something new and be a part of something amazing."

The students were also recognized during Monday's city council meeting in Loves Park.