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Annual Arbor Day Program

Students at the Clough Elementary School act as flag-bearers with the assistance of Miscoe Hill Student Council Members at the Arbor Day celebration on April 27.

This year's annual Arbor Day celebration was held at Clough Elementary School on April 27, honoring the nine "special" people who passed away this year with a tree planted in their memory.

The Arbor Day program has been an inter-school tradition since 1989. The late Orise Tetreault initiated the annual tradition when she requested that the schools have a program similar to the one at her Albeeville School on Millville St. many years ago, and has since been celebrated on the last Friday of April. As a result of the Arbor Day program, there have been more than 100 trees planted at the schools and throughout town to beautify Mendon and to honor the memory of someone who has passed or to recognize someone who makes a difference in people's lives.

This year's program began with a parade of Clough students acting as flag-bearers escorted into the ceremony by Miscoe Hill Student Council members. The Miscoe Hill Band, under the direction of Michael Morel, played America the Beautiful to accompany the entrance march, followed by the National Anthem.

Clough Principal Janice Gallagher welcomed the audience members and gave thanks to the people who were involved in the memorable event including Heather McCourt, Michael Eagan, Fred Oldfield and Dick Grady.

During her speech, Gallagher compared the Arbor Day trees to the children. "The trees are in some ways like the school children that we are educating. We care for them, nourish them, help them to establish roots, and watch them grow. They are our investments in the future," she said.

Gallagher said one of the trees being planted that year is in the memory of "a very special man," Chico Claro, the late husband of first-grade Clough teacher Kristine Claro. "I am so happy that we are donating and planting a tree in memory of Chico, as it will be a beautiful living reminder of his life and the memories that we hold dear," said Gallagher.

Trees will also be planted at the Miscoe Hill school in memory of former Mendon-Upton Regional School District students Jack Street and Chris DiLorenzo, who both passed away in January; Gary Lipscomb; Georgia McFadden; Anthony Petti Jr.; and relatives of the Mittleman, Villarroel, and Wlazlak-Portev families.

During the program, Miscoe Hill Student Council members gave narrations of the Arbor Day traditions, read Arbor Day poems, and gave words of remembrance in honor of the people for whom the trees are being planted.

After the ceremony, Gallagher called this year's program a "wonderful celebration." She added, "It is such a great acknowledgement of those people who are important to us and it is wonderful to see how important that acknowledgement is to their families."


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