I got a Facebook message from one of Summer’s classmates a few weeks ago. Karly said the class of 2019 had come together and funded a tree for DeeMack High School in Summer’s name on the campus. This message seemed like forever ago, and as the days got closer… I reached out to Karly and confirmed it was still on this weekend. Once I had that figured out, Angela reminded me that we have other families that might be interested in this.
I am so terrible. I sent out last-minute messages to my folks, Angela’s Mom, Don/Dawn, and the Bodahls. Who else would want to come? Probably a few more people. Nate? (My god! What’s wrong with me?) When we arrived I saw Summer’s friend Olivia standing there and I had a “V8 moment” I’m such an idiot! I was so happy she was there because I totally didn’t say anything to her!!! Then she reminded me that the classmates had organized this. So, I was a bit off the hook.
Principal Holmgren was there to lead the festivities/ceremony. He talked briefly about what the class had done and how he went to Hoer Nursery looking for a tree. They showed him an American Dream Oak when he told them the story. (Looks a lot like a Swamp Oak!) It was a great pick and knowing how they keep the campus… It will be there a long long time!
The class had also purchased a memorial paver on the stadium entrance and they will have a clone to that paver at the tree with Summer’s name.
After “Holmgren” (as the kids call him!) was done giving a little talk… Angela stepped forward to say a few words. (I had nothing… I was feeling a bit overcome)
Angela told a story about our arrival at DeeMack and how Summer didn’t know anyone. She signed Summer up for Cross Country but soon realized they met for a run at a frightful hour during the summer practice season. We could get her to practice, but we were both at work and could not retrieve her. The coach said, “Don’t worry, we will find her a ride home”. We are parents, we worry. Every day we would call Summer and ask if she made it home. I could tell by Summer’s storytelling that she was a little weirded out at first to be riding around with upper-class students whom she didn’t know. Over a few weeks, the stories started to turn into laughs and “I got this Dad” as she began making friends.
Those were the seeds that started everything for her at DeeMack. From there she made some great friends that will remember her forever.
The tree is planted in the Shot and Disk area of the outside sports area at DeeMack HS. Summer and Aiden both did throwing sports in track so its a perfect spot. I remember the nonsense of those kids between throws in this area. I hope it’s a shady spot for kids to hang out and talk goofy “smack” between events for years to come.
I am sad that this reality means we have these kinds of events in our lives.
I love that people outside of our circle think about her.
I love that school and the people who have been there for us throughout the kid’s High School years.
When we were wrapping up, I talked to Principal Holgren about the scholarship. He said they start making plans for the graduation event and scholarships in January. We will keep pushing along.
A customer of mine came in a week or so ago and was giving condolences… He said he was looking at Henderson’s site for a friend of his who passed and came across Summer’s obit and video.
He was blown away at everything she did in her few years. I never let her grow moss… That’s for sure.
If have not seen it… It’s VERY long and pretty great.