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Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
With help from Gov. Gary Herbert, sixth-graders from Hill Field Elementary decorate one of the Christmas trees at the Governor's Mansion.

Talia Cobb, a sixth-grader from Hill Field Elementary School in Clearfield, was living the dream of her life.

She was completely shocked. She looked around as if she were living a fantasy. She felt as if she was visiting a castle with walls covered with fine art and holiday decorations adorning every corner. She stopped in front of a giant tree, which was in the middle of the room. The tree was magnificently decorated with large apiaries, colored ribbons and ornaments that recall the time of the year that is eagerly awaited by children — Christmas.

It was on Wednesday that her dream finally came true. Along with all her schoolmates, Talia had been working on crafts to make the decorations that will dress up a Christmas tree in the Governor's Mansion, the residence of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and first lady Jeanette Herbert. Talia was one of the students busily helping the first lady with decorating.

Sixth-grade students from Hill Field Elementary gathered at the Governor's Mansion to decorate Utah's first family's Christmas tree.

The students worked with the theme "Fantasies and Fairies," so all the decorations were related to the most famous fairy tales.

The first lady is not just bringing the children to decorate a Christmas tree but is trying to bring the fairies and fantasies to life through books, said Governor Herbert at the time he introduced her.

Governor Herbert also said that they love Christmas and they love decorating the mansion.

"Jeanette loves Christmas decorations and loves children because Christmas and children come together," he said.

Most of the students visiting the mansion were sons and daughters of soldiers who have been at war or who have recently been sent on special missions.

"This is a unique experience for me," Talia said. "It is my first time visiting Salt Lake City, and I love it. I am very honored to be here at the mansion to participate in this great event." said Talia.

Student Jordan Duran said it was the first time he was able to actually see the governor and visit with him.

After Herbert thanked the students for the great job they did helping decorate the Christmas tree, he expressed his gratitude for their parents and for the time they have been serving the country.

e-mail: cskinner@desnews.com