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Winter Wonderland

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Nakisha Carter, Monique Bouchard and Alyssa Reinecke are the project leaders for the open house.

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A Santa figure made out of papier-mâché by Rhoda Matts.

For the second year in a row, marketing students from Potomac Falls High School will be doing their part to help raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS. Kathy Chrisman’s marketing students are working to promote a holiday open house in Sterling, in order to raise money.

ALS is a degenerative neurological disease that interferes with the brain’s ability to control muscle movement. Chrisman recently lost her mother to ALS. "This event is to raise both money and awareness, because it is such a devastating disease," she said.

THE HOUSE features more than 70 Christmas trees, hundreds of handmade ornaments and many other Christmas decorations.

In addition to promoting the event, the students will be present at the house giving tours of the various rooms. They will be handing out shirts, candles, ornaments and baseball cards featuring baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, a famous sufferer of ALS.

The event has been in the works since the beginning of the school year. This has provided the students the chance to see how the marketing strategies they have learned apply to the real world.

Nakisha Carter, one of the students heading the project, says that everyone should experience the house. "The house is absolutely amazing," she says. "I have never seen anything like it."

The house belongs to Rhoda Matts, who has been making Christmas decorations in her spare time since the 1960s. Throughout the years, her collection has grown to fill a storage unit, which she now keeps her decorations in most of the year.

Each tree has its own theme. One is dedicated to her favorite television show, Star Trek. Each of her children has a tree decorated with ornaments dedicated to their interests.

The basement features a Christmas village made entirely out of recycled products. Candles make up the pillars of buildings. Straws make up a tile roof. There are several dollhouses, also handmade.