Chloe Clark Elementary students beautify school

By Marques Hunter on November 5, 2012

Hailey Cummins and Gunner Robertson - along with the rest of the entire Chloe Clark Elementary School 3rd grade - couldn't wait to get their hands dirty.

The students dug their hands into soft piles of dirt, and then eagerly dumped it into three different holes created for the school's fall tree planting event held Oct. 25 at the DuPont school.

Hailey and Gunner filled one Chinese Dogwood tree hole with dirt. By the end, all three trees stood tall and secure in their new homes.

"I think it's awesome," said Hailey, whose mother, Sgt. 1st Class Amelia Cummins, works on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "I never got to do this."

During the event, DuPont school officials emphasized the importance of trees to the environment. Discussion of the tree project had been brewing since the Chloe Clark Statue - a depiction of the historical missionary teacher for whom the school was named -was erected in front of the school in 2010.

The momentous occasion in front of the school drew Washington State Senator Mike Carroll, State Representative Tami Green and DuPont city and school officials.

The trees symmetrically embrace the bronze-colored statue in a curve-shaped manner.

Chloe Clark Principal Gary Yoho said the area around statue needed sprucing up. The City of DuPont Tree Board said they were interested in complimenting the area.

Prior to the tree planting, Tree Board Member Kerri McConnell provided a brief history about the origin of the Arbor Day. The inaugural holiday took place April 10, 1872 in Nebraska City, Neb., when an estimated 1 million trees were planted.

"This will make Chloe Clark an even more beautiful place," McConnell said.

Each student was allowed to participate by grabbing a handful of dirt and tossing it into a tree hole, completing the planting and starting a new tree life at Chloe Clark.

"Anything to make the campus look better, I'm all for it," Yoho said. "I want them to feel a sense of pride in this."

Gunner, whose father, Staff Sgt. Gary Robertson also works on JBLM, helped finish filling the tree hole with dirt. He was excited to have participated in the event.

"I'm happy because I get to help the school and the environment," he said.

McConnell left the kids to think about a quote by famous Nebraska editor and Arbor Days founder Julius Sterling Morton.

"Each generation takes the earth as trustees," she said. "You are the trustees of these trees."