In May, students and faculty at Tehachapi High were stunned when they saw close to two dozen trees cut down on their campus. Many believed it was a senior prank gone too far, but administrators say they’re still investigating leads. Police estimated the damage to be thousands of dollars.
Three weeks later, 40 new trees were put in their place. About 100 volunteers showed up to the community planting day–from cub scouts and cheer squad, to the special education summer school.
“Right away when they saw the damage that had been done, they said, ‘hey, how can we rebuild, how can we replant?’ We did not pay anybody to be here,” said Tehachapi High principal, Scott Heitman.
Heitman called it a team effort district-wide. He says students pooled their money to buy pines and Japanese maples. Parents happily opened their checkbooks. A local Home Depot donated 23 trees, and 5 C’s Landscaping contributed three blossoming pears.
“We have students who are here now taking ownership by planting trees,” Heitman said. “When they’re out here breaking lunch now, they can sit by the tree they planted.”
Incoming freshman Trinity Madden said the event helped her feel a sense of pride for her new school.
“I think it’s an important cause because you should always help the environment, and especially help your school,” Madden said. “Your school does so much for you, so you should always give back.”
Now she and her friends hope their upcoming school year will be grounded in success. For Tehachapi High, rooted in community spirit, the day became a lesson of growth.