Grant students read 1,789 books - yes, that's correct - over the past four weeks as part of the Read For Trees program. Every completed book gave the student one vote toward either a White Oak or a Wilson Elm, and the oak won: 1,226 votes compared to 563 for the elm.
Today, at a special Father's Day assembly at 2 p.m., the students planted the tree near the school, in Grant Park.
Jerry Numbers, who's been an East Central neighborhood activist for many years, owns and has restored the house here in the South Perry neighborhood where Sonora Smart Dodd - the founder of Father's Day - lived. "It's so nice to see all the books you have read," Numbers told the students, before sharing that Jack Dodd, Sonora's son, went to school at Grant almost 100 years ago. "That's why we are planting the tree here."
Nancy McKarrow was there representing Susie's Forest - a tree planting project she is heading up in memory of her daughter, Susie Stephens. McKarrow donated the White Oak. She complimented the students for all the books they read and reminded them to be careful when crossing the road: "My daugther was a pedestrian and she was run over by a bus - that's how she died. Every time I look at a tree, I think of Susie. You will have memories connected to this tree, too."