STEPHEN HEMELT — Orangefield’s Kaitlyn Jenkins shares inspiration for ornament design that earned place at TX House Chamber

Published 12:27 am Saturday, December 17, 2022

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Kaitlyn Jenkins mainly follows her friends on social media, but the type of content she watches is art-related.

“I watch stuff that opens new ideas for me,” the 17-year-old said. “I see things like new ways to paint or an easier way to achieve a goal in art. I love these kinds of videos, and they really open a whole world of possibilities.”

Jenkins clearly has a passion for creating something exciting. And she doesn’t mind if it’s something brand new.

The junior at Orangefield High School put that passion into action recently in a contest with an ending at the state capitol in Austin.

She created an ornament for a school competition with hopes to represent all of Texas House District 21 with placement on the Christmas tree with 150 single pieces from Texas’ 150 House districts. The tree is on display in the House Chamber through Jan. 2, 2023.

And when it was all said and done, Kaitlyn was deemed the best in our district.

Kaitlyn told me her original thought for the ornament was to embody Orangefield and the surrounding areas.

She started thinking about how Orangefield was started — the Orange Oil Field.

“It felt like the right idea was to incorporate oil into it and have the always-beautiful sunset in the ornament, as well,” Kaitlyn said. “I also wanted to have the water tower that welcomes you to Orangefield.”

Despite those — or maybe because of those — lofty goals, she loved how the final result turned out. In her opinion, the ornament was better than her original sketch.

Kaitlyn Jenkins’ ornament design takes inspiration from her hometown Orangefield. (Courtesy photo)

Kaitlyn truly turned her imagination into reality.

And she wasn’t alone in realizing the quality result.

It was art teacher Kim Feidler who told Kaitlyn about the ornament’s selection for the State House.

Kaitlyn thought it was exciting to have the chance to represent this community’s legislative district.

In fact it was Feidler who had a competition for the chance to paint the ornament.

The drawings were judged, and Kaitlyn was surprised to hear she was the one chosen to paint it.

“It was scary to do at first, because I didn’t want to mess up, but I am so glad I had the opportunity,” she said.

In the end it was Kaitlyn Jenkins who won the honors of creating an ornament that represents our area.

With less than two years of high school left, her immediate goal after 12th grade is attending college in pursuit of an architectural degree.

She wants to pursue architecture because of the enjoyment that comes from art and math.

Like any budding artist, she is not one to be tied down. When I asked her what was her favorite part of Orangefield High School, she replied “multiple things.”

“I enjoy being with my friends, especially in extracurriculars, like Student Council, National Honor Society and volleyball,” she said. “I also love some of my classes, like chemistry, art and precalculus.”

During her down time, Kaitlyn enjoys listening to Lady Gaga and Imagine Dragons.

“I have been listening to Lady Gaga ever since I can remember, and I have always liked her songs,” she said. “I listen to Imagine Dragons, because it’s something my whole family enjoys and listens to.”

Congratulations Kaitlyn, as you follow your dreams, we are sure to see more of your inspirations turn into reality.

Stephen Hemelt is the publisher at Orange Newsmedia, which produces the Orange Leader and He can be reached at