Travis Elementary students plant trees as memorial for years to come

HARLINGEN — Many of us like to visit our old haunts, the homes where we lived, the schools we attended, the vacant lots where we played.

We sometimes feel a painful loss because we see nothing of ourselves there. Nothing indicates we were ever there, and it seems as though we’ve been erased from its history.

Abby Garza and her fellow student council members at Travis Elementary won’t have that problem. They’ll be able to drive by their school in 20 years, 30 years or even 40 years and remember they planted the 12 oak trees lining the fences.

“It made me feel good, it made me feel special, it made me feel like I was part of something,” said Abby, 9, a third grader.

“They are the example for us,” added fellow councilmember Chris Cantu, 10, a fourth grader.

The student council members and Student Advisory Board members planted the young oak trees a few days after they returned from Easter vacation in late March. The project was carried out through a combined effort of the Student Advisory Board, Keep Harlingen Beautiful, the Travis Elementary School Student Council, and the Harlingen school district.

Darlene Duncan, president of the Student Advisory Board, said she looks forward to driving past Travis Elementary in the coming years and seeing the mark she helped make on the community.

“It’s actually pretty cool to know that the Student Advisory Board planted those because 20 years from now when we come back to the Valley and visit, we’ll be able to say, ‘Oh, hey look. We planted those oak trees,’” she said.

The Student Advisory Board consists of 15 students from HCISD’s high schools and provides an avenue for participation and involvement of student leaders in the district.

Shane Strubhart, school district spokesman, approached Darlene, 17, about a volunteer project. Each year, the Student Advisory Board must decide how it wants to give back to the community. This is one way of building great leaders on the board.

The day everyone went outside to plant the trees, he was quite impressed.

“I was extremely proud, not only of our students but of our staff and the students at Travis Elementary,” he said.

The school district assisted by digging the holes and installing the drip system. The Student Advisory Board and Travis Elementary students filled in the dirt and the mulch.

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