As Fort Dodge's kindergarteners grow, so too will the tree they planted Tuesday on the Fort Dodge Senior High campus.
Kindergarteners from Duncombe, Cooper, Feelhaver came to the Senior High in the morning to see their tree planted with the plaque before it reading Kindergarten Class 2012-2013. Butler and Riverside participated later in the day.
"We're here to plant this tree because of you," said Doug Van Zyl, FDCSD superintendent. "You're like this tree. What happens when you plant a tree?"
The kids called over the sound of distant trains, "It grows."
"What do you think you're going to do over the next several years of your life?" Van Zyl asked.
Several children said they will grow, as well.
"Yes. You will. It will grow bigger and you will grow bigger," Van Zyl said.
Van Zyl said he hopes the children, surrounded by seniors from the high school, one day will graduate from the senior high.
"On Sunday, some of the folks around you will be graduating, because we have students who are seniors who started out like you and like this tree, maybe a little bit smaller, but they grew and they learned and they developed over the years."
When the elementary students come to the senior high as students in the future, Van Zyl said, they can come out to see the tree and remember the day it was planted eight years prior, a symbol of their own growth.
"You can remember all the success you've had," he said.
Zoey Miller, a graduating FDSH senior, spoke with the students.
"It's hard to believe, but I remember planting my tree," Miller said. "It's way over there, on the other side of the school."
Miller recalled sitting in the back of the group from the ceremony and having difficulty seeing.
"I started to look at all the kids walking by, and thinking they're so old and so big," she said. "I've since been back to visit my tree, and I'm always amazed how big it is."
Miller encouraged the children to embrace every opportunity as they grow.
Student from each school helped moved the plant into its place in the ground and then each shoved soil over it. After the ceremony, the kindergarten students were given a tour of Senior High.