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San Jacinto College
News Release
Friday, December 02, 2011

San Jacinto College student designs ornament honoring human space flight
for 2011 State Capitol tree


PASADENA, Texas — An ornament created by San Jacinto College culinary arts student, Monica Luque Thomas, has been chosen to display on the 2011 Lone Star Celebration Christmas Tree at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas.

Selected from a contest judged by Rep. Ken Legler (TX-144), Thomas' ornament,"Christmas Shuttle in Orbit over the Earth," was inspired by her husband's experience working for the United Space Alliance on designing the Orion spacecraft and previously as a flight controller with the space shuttle.

"I wanted to honor all the people who have worked to make human space flight possible and to tie it here to Houston," said Thomas. "We also know many people who have been laid off at the end of the Shuttle program and want to honor them too."

With a background in art from Peru, Thomas designed the ornament featuring a space shuttle flying over the planet Earth, made with hundreds of glass beads and complimented by traditional Christmas accents. Houston is pinpointed with a silver star.

"I am honored as a Peruvian-American to have my work recognized as being a fitting representation for Houston and Harris County,” said Thomas.  I had no idea that my work could be seen at an important level such as the State Capitol."

Along with her ornament being selected for the tree, Thomas also won a trip to Austin for the tree lighting ceremony, and she and a guest will have dinner with Rep. Legler and his wife, Barbara.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for 50 years. The College, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. Our graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook at

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