Senior Tree facilitates memories through generations

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Senior Tree facilitates memories through generations

A picture of an image from a 1952 Drake yearbook depicts students crowding the senior tree area

A picture of an image from a 1952 Drake yearbook depicts students crowding the senior tree area

Alice Simenstad

A picture of an image from a 1952 Drake yearbook depicts students crowding the senior tree area

Alice Simenstad

Alice Simenstad

A picture of an image from a 1952 Drake yearbook depicts students crowding the senior tree area

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For generations of Pirates, the Senior Tree serves an important purpose as a place where people can talk, laugh, share stories, and be a part of the community. It stands tall over hundreds of students, watching them spend time with friends, talk during fleeting passing periods, and race to class at the sound of the bell. 

The history of the Senior Tree is somewhat peculiar; there are no records in the office of when it was planted, by whom, or why. The only factual information available about the Senior Tree is that it was planted between the years of 1961-1963, and even this information was hidden between the pages of dusty 60-year-old yearbooks.

Whether the tree was intended to add greenery to the campus or to create a place to honor seniors, it has become an important part of our community.

ROCK teacher Jasper Thelin, a graduate from 1987, remembers the Senior Tree to be very different than it is today. 

“By the 80’s it was already called the Senior Tree, but the big difference was that there were no benches around it, and there were no picnic tables in that area, so there was not that very welcoming vibe of a place to eat lunch,” Thelin said. 

The atmosphere of the Senior Tree has changed drastically from 40 years ago. Thelin described the tree as an inhospitable place on campus all those years ago, which, according to present students, is simply inaccurate today. The Senior Tree is much like the social hub of Drake: it’s a popular meeting place where friends can talk, laugh, and relax.

Senior Emma Neal described the Senior Tree as “a meeting spot for my friends and I before school, during breaks, lunch, and after school […] the Senior Tree has been a hotspot for interesting social interaction from my high school experience, which has left me with many fond memories.” 

The transition of the Senior Tree over the years has affected our student population for the better, and has transformed a sycamore sapling into one of the most prominent and important parts of our Drake community.

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