New Zealand markets open in 7 hours 21 minutes
  • NZX 50

    12,036.05
    +12.59 (+0.10%)
     
  • NZD/USD

    0.6496
    +0.0003 (+0.05%)
     
  • ALL ORDS

    7,709.50
    +21.50 (+0.28%)
     
  • OIL

    79.38
    -1.63 (-2.01%)
     
  • GOLD

    1,927.60
    -2.40 (-0.12%)
     

Kamala Harris Surprises Young Artist by Putting His Painting on the Second Family's Holiday Card

Kamala Harris Surprises Young Artist by Putting His Painting on the Second Family's Holiday Card

Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff rang in the winter holiday season with a new friend, 15-year-old artist Alex Berko.

Berko is a tenth grader at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., just down the road from the Naval Observatory where Harris and Emhoff live. Earlier this year, Berko's visual arts teacher provided him photos of the vice president's official residence and asked him to reimagine it in a wintry setting, leaving out important context about the purpose of the assignment.

Unaware at the time, Berko was entering a secret design contest — his painting would be judged against other D.C. students' submissions, and the winner would have their design printed on the second family's 2022 holiday card.

In November, Harris and Emhoff hopped on Zoom with Berko and his family to share the good news: Berko's art was selected for their holiday card and would soon be shared with the world.

RELATED: All About the Vice President's Rarely Seen Residence, One Observatory Circle

The Office of the Vice President holiday card on display, Wednesday, December 7, 2022, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House.
The Office of the Vice President holiday card on display, Wednesday, December 7, 2022, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House.

Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

With the 2022 holiday cards now printed and complementary ornaments created, Harris and Emhoff decided it was time to invite Berko to their home — the same one he painted — and celebrate his achievement.

When Berko arrived, Harris shouted "Alexander!" and shook his hand before offering a hug.

She excitedly read the back of the holiday card, where a brief biography on Berko shares the story behind the painting, aloud to him. "Oh my God, that's so crazy," he said, looking at the text for himself. "No, it's magnificent, that's what it is," Harris replied.

RELATED: Jill Biden Unveils White House Holiday Decorations, Complete with Life-Sized Replicas of Commander and Willow

Alex Berko, 15-year-old who designed Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff's holiday card
Alex Berko, 15-year-old who designed Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff's holiday card

Courtesy of the White House Alex Berko shows off the holiday card he designed inside One Observatory Circle

Harris and Emhoff took some photos with Berko and gifted him with his own copy of the card that was signed by the second family and one of the ornaments inspired by his design.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer.

Berko's visual arts teacher, Mike Easton, told the vice president's office that the teen is a "dynamic artist" and student leader on his campus.

His mother, Julie Berko, explained that he's always been artistic — even drawing on the walls of his home as a child — and she's excited to see his talent flourish through his art education.

Berko's art depicts One Observatory Circle inside a snow globe, resting on a wooden table with decorative pine cones, fir leaves and red berries. The vice president's office added embossed gold letters to the design that read "Happy Holidays."