“I like trees because they have pretty colors,” said Celia B., a Lovett kindergartener who boiled down our school’s newest tradition to something very simple. I spoke to her before the dedication of a dogwood tree during lunch period on Friday, November 22. Our school’s newest tradition is pretty much as simple as that.
Lovett’s senior class of 2020 wanted to make a lasting impact on our community by giving a gift to the environment and to the next generation of Lovett’s students, the kindergarten class of 2032. That’s why they decided to leave behind an unconventional legacy for our school: a flowering dogwood tree.
“It’s a good way to point to the place where we come from and how this environment impacts us all,” said Green Team co-President Towner Schunk. He and the members of the upper school Green Team organized the planting of the tree as a way to incorporate their love of nature with their love for the kindergarten class. They chose the flowering dogwood because it is a species native to Georgia which flowers into beautiful, pink blossoms in the springtime.
The official dedication of the tree included speeches by senior Green Team members, the unveiling of a collaborative artwork between senior Jenny Chen and kindergarteners, and blessings from upper school chaplain Reverend Allen and lower school chaplain Jennifer Arnold. All who took part in the celebration were able to admire not only the tree itself but also the beautiful community that it represents.
“[The Green Team] thought that starting a new tradition would be a great way to connect seniors to kindergarten students,” said Mrs. Switzer, the club’s advisor. I spoke to her before the dedication in her classroom. Green Team leads initiatives throughout the school year to bring awareness to climate change and other environmental issues, which often means watching films and hosting guest speakers. With this event, they were able to put their knowledge of the ecosystem into action in a way that would also bring the community closer together.
“We just want the tree to be able to grow with [the kindergartners] and welcome them into the community,” said Kendall Greene, the other co-President of Green Team, who I spoke with before the ceremony. She hopes that whenever the kindergarteners look at their tree, they will be reminded of how much she and the rest of the Lovett senior class cares about them.
Just like a tree has roots to support it as it grows, Lovett students have the support of this community. After many years of learning and growing as students and as people, Lovett’s senior class is looking forward to what lies ahead in their future. But no matter where they end up, they will always remember the place that has made them who they are today.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of the flowering dogwood tree is that it doesn’t mean the end of the senior class’s time at Lovett but the beginning of a new tradition. From now on, every school year will be marked by the planting of a new tree for kindergarteners like Celia, who can admire the pretty colors (and what they represent) as they grow up. Just like the class of 2020 gave a tree to the class of 2032, the class of 2032 will someday give a tree to the class of 2044, and so on.