Gone But Not Forgotten

How many of you have lost a friend? More specifically, how many of you have lost a friend here at WCU during the past year? Unfortunately, Student deaths at universities are a reality, but those who die are not forgotten. Every year for the past ten years, WCU has prepared a Memorial Tree Planting Ceremony between Brown Cafeteria and the Old Student Union to remember those student’s they have lost throughout the school year. Jane Adams-Dunford, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at WCU, spoke about the memorial service. “This is an opportunity to pay tribute to all deceased students,” the Vice Chancelor said. Mary-Lynn Starkey, Administrative Support Associate for Student Affairs, said that the parents of the deceased are presented with a symbolic token of appreciation from the university.”Each family will be presented with a vase that’s inscribed with the name of the student and says, ‘Forever a Catamount,” Starkey said. According to Adams-Dunford, the memorial service is planned by SGA, and it takes place every year either late April or early May. Students from the community are encouraged to read poems expressing their feelings. The parents of the students come to speak at the memorial. The Vice Chancellor of Student affairs also said that someone from a campus ministry is allowed to speak. According to Starkey, each year a different tree is planted, and that “there’s also a memorial marker on site that was donated a few years ago.”This year’s memorial will take place between Brown Cafeteria and the Old Student Union at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1. Starkey said that this year the tree being planted is an Eastern Redbud. Truly, this memorial is special in and of it self. Adams-Dunford said that whenever there was a hint of rain, the skies would clear up as soon as the memorial began. For a decade, the memorial has never been postponed or rescheduled Adams-Dunford said. “It gives us an opportunity to pay respect for each student at one time,” Adams-Dunford said. “I think that it is a time to celebrate their lives.”