A Boise elementary school student got the surprise of a lifetime Thursday.

One lucky kid was picked to go to Washington, D.C., this December to light up the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which was recently selected from the Payette National Forest.

A few hundred students at Saint Mary's Catholic School gathered into the school gym for what they thought was a regular school assembly.

Instead, Sen. Mike Crapo surprised an unsuspecting 5th grader with the news that she won the tree lighting contest.

Tears of joy rolled down Isabella Gerard's face as she shook Sen. Crapo's hand.

"My heart was beating really fast because I was just really excited, and when he said my name I was just really excited and happy," Isabella said.

The fifth-grader and her parents will get a free trip to Washington D.C. for the lighting in early December.

Isabella submitted a poem for the contest she said was inspired by time she spent hiking and enjoying nature in McCall.

"I just thought about... if I was in the forest, what would I be feeling and what would I be imagining," she said.

Isabella said she's never been to the nation's capital, and is excited for the trip. The tree lighting will be held the week of Dec. 5.