- by Mount Saint Mary College
Mount Saint Mary College First Year Experience students and Bishop Dunn second graders planted a tree together on campus earlier this month.

A new red oak tree stands outside of Bishop Dunn Memorial School, thanks to principal Nancy Benfer’s second grade class and a team of freshmen and faculty from Mount Saint Mary College’s First Year Experience (FYE) program.

The tree was planted in the same area where another had once stood years ago; a tree that Benfer and Mike Daven, longtime professor of Mathematics and an FYE faculty member, have fond memories of.

“[Now] a new red oak tree stands, symbolizing not only the growth of nature but, also the continual growth of our students and community,” explained Benfer, a 2004 graduate of the Mount.

In addition to Daven, the Mount faculty and staff who made the event possible were Michael McGuire, assistant professor of History and Political Science; Erin Weeks, academic coach/advisor; and Denise Garofalo, librarian for Systems and Catalog Services.

Fr. Greg Fluet, Interim President of the Mount, began the ceremony with a prayer and expressed his admiration for the enthusiasm exhibited by the young students of Bishop Dunn.

All of the second graders – and a few Mount freshmen – helped to shovel and rake the soil around the new tree. The second graders then took field notes and drew pictures, capturing their perspectives and memories of the event. The college’s facilities team also helped with the planting.

A plaque nearby the tree reads, “From the Second Grade Class of Bishop Dunn Memorial School and Mount FYE Learning Community 9, Fall 2023. Watch Us Grow!"

It will be around 2037 when the second graders of Bishop Dunn graduate from college. Should they attend the Mount, noted Benfer, they can visit their oak tree and take photos with their family.


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