Northwest Administrator visits White House


Oftentimes, family Christmas cards feature cheesy sweaters, fake smiles and contempt seething from the pores of the entire family with a caption that reads “Merry Christmas from the [name here] family!” That is not the case for Assistant Principal Tom Perkins, however. His Christmas card helps him proudly remember his trip to the White House.
In December of 2004, Perkins and his wife were given a chance to go to the White House after it was decorated for Christmas.
“My wife worked for the Society of Decorative Painters,” Perkins said. “They were commissioned to do the ornaments for the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room.”
Some of the people who helped with the ornaments at the White House got to travel there for free, and Perkin’s wife was one of the lucky ones.
“All the artists were invited to [the White House] but they were required to pay their own way,” he said. “[My wife] and a couple of the other main people involved got their plane ticket paid for.”
Each year, the tree in the White House has a theme.The tree in the White House when Perkins went was decorated with over 200 ornaments around the theme of musical instruments.
“They wanted an ornament from every state in the union and anybody could submit one,” Perkins said. “They sent them in to [my wife] and whoever else was at work. Then they had to catalogue all the different ornaments.”
Aside from decorating the tree, the Perkins’ got a taste of presidential hospitality firsthand.
“We got to go in and they had a reception [with] a full buffet in the state dining room,” Perkins said. “We actually got to walk around on the second level of the White House and see different parts of it. [My wife and I] were able to be in the White House for two to three hours.”
While visiting, Perkins said he had the opportunity to meet and have a picture with Laura Bush, the first lady during the Bush administration.
“We could take pictures of anything we wanted in the White House with our own cameras,” he said. “The picture with Mrs. Bush they did. We couldn’t use our own cameras on that one.”
Perkins was able to see more than just the tree and the first lady. Along with meeting the head butler for the White House, he got to see President Bush land on Marine One, the President’s helicopter.
“It was pretty incredible,” Perkins said. “All I thought when I first went in it was we were just going to look at the tree and walk out, and it ended up being a much bigger deal than that.”
Although now far in the past, Perkins plans on holding onto these memories for many more Christmases to come.