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Story and photos by Lisa Carolin (slideshow above)
Slideshow by Burrill Strong (at bottom of story)

Trees of various shapes and sizes were planted on the grounds of Chelsea High School as part of the Alumni Arbor planting Saturday, May 6.

There were graduates representing many of the classes from 1943 to 2017, all of which will have their own tree.

The dedication plaque reads: “Welcome to the Chelsea High School Alumni Arbor. Established May 6, 2017. With this arbor we stand in uniform assembly, marking every great and powerful victory by returning to the earth from which we came. We invite you to explore your surroundings and experience the connections among graduates, beginning with the class of 1943.”

CHS teacher Shawn Sinacola-Rodriguez runs the high school’s Arbor Club and spearheaded the effort calling it, “an environmentally positive way to preserve the unique, meaningful legacy that each class leaves behind.”

A grant from the Chelsea Education Foundation went toward hiring Arbor Knoll LLC to design and implement a master plan for the Alumni Arbor.

The class of 2016 donated a weeping willow tree planted in remembrance of all student lives lost as part of the high school’s #You Matter Campaign.

“All graduating classes were asked to choose a tree, and we decided to plant a sugar maple tree,” said Larry Doll, who was the class president of the class of 1974. “It’s inspiring that students came up with the idea.”

One of those students is Senior Meghan O’Neill, who was busy planting a poplar tree for the class of 2017.

“I believe this project is important environmentally for the future of the school,” said O’Neill.

“I like the idea of a lasting legacy,” said junior Marielle Lengthen, who was helping O’Neill dig a hole for the tree.

Also working at the school was the Chelsea Fire Department. Two CHS alumni—Fire Captain Chris Smyth and Fire Lt. Eric Stanley – filled the green “gator” slow release water bags on the trees using the fire department’s rescue diesel vehicle.

The Arbor Club hopes to add pathways, outdoor classroom space, a gazebo, benches, gardens and more to the green space.

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