The loss of two oak trees from the front lawn of the school has caused the view to be a bit bare this year. One of the trees fell and the other was cut down. Chemistry teacher Rose Nash came up with the idea of replacing the trees with two new ones, and art teacher Rebecca McKittrick helped to get the word out about planting the trees.
“The first tree fell on its own after some really high winds,” McKittrick said.
When the first tree fell, it narrowly avoided hitting the marquee in front of the school.
McKittrick was at school the day before the tree fell, feeding the school guinea pigs. When she was leaving, about 15 bikers were on the sidewalk in front of the school. McKittrick asked them if they would like for her to take their picture. As she took the picture, they stood in front of the tree that would be gone 24 hours later.
“The (second) tree had a rotten place in the center, and it was going to fall… instead of risking it falling on the marquee, it was cut down,” McKittrick said.
Last school year, the Oxford School District lost two staff members: Minnie Gordon and Caroline Fair. Nash came up with the idea to plant the trees in memory of the two of them. The new trees, which will be willow oaks, will be planted sometime in the fall.
“There will be a ceremony once the trees have been planted,” McKittrick said.
Director of School Services Sonny Brownlee got in touch with the company selling the trees and found they are $250 each. While McKittrick and Assistant Principal Kathy Howington were first planning to have donations pay for the new trees, Brownlee told them the grounds budget would be able to cover it.
“The staff and faculty were going to pool our money for Caroline Fair and Minnie Gordon but when we talked to Sonny Brownlee he said they’d get the trees for us,” Howington said.
Teachers will place bronze plaques in front of each tree, dedicating the trees to Gordon and Fair. Woodland Tree Service will plant and mulch the trees. Therefore, the ceremony to commemorate Gordon and Fair will be when the plaques are put in. Howington says it hasn’t been decided who will be able to attend the ceremony, however she feels all should be able to attend. The money for the plaques is coming from donations.
“If there are enough donations, we may even be able to buy a bench to put between the trees and have the plaques on it,” McKittrick said.