The first grade students at Manila elementary school planted two trees on Thursday in memory of their classmate, Jesse Ham. Jesse lost his battle to cancer on March 27, 2002.
Classmates collected money to purchase a tree to be planted at the northwest corner of the elementary playground. A 12-foot maple was planted by Donna Trammel's first grade. The city dug the hole and the young students gathered to help plant the tree. Each student had letters they had written and placed on a memory board in their classroom. The young students read their letters. Jesse's mother, Jacqueline Ham, was a special guest at the ceremony.
A poem written by Mary Kaye Spain, Manila reading recovery teacher, was read.
There was a sweet, little angel
Sent from Heaven above.
God let him walk among us
To fill our lives with love.
His work was quickly finished
In just a few short years,
So God called hi home;
While we shed many tears.
Now to honor his memory,
We plant this simple tree,
As we take comfort in the knowledge
That he sits at his Father's knee.
A second tree planting ceremony was held at the Manila City park where all of the first grade students gathered to plant a second tree in memory of Jesse. Each first grade student placed a shovel of dirt around the ornamental pear tree. Next to the tree a plaque was placed by the Junior Wise family in memory of Jesse from the first grade class of 2001-2002.
Jacqueline Ham was also a special guest at the ceremony.