Feature stories

Living tribute

Brooklyn school honors 9/11 victims by planting massive daffodil garden

Miller Photography

Everyone digs in to get the bulbs planted at the Bay Ridge school before the first frost.

Miller Photography Former art teacher Tom Buxton (pointing) leads a group, which includes City Councilman Domenic Recchia (behind Buxton, in black), on a tour of the great 9/11 mural he created with students in the school hallway.
Miller Photography

The work to create a 9/11 daffodil memorial at IS 259 begins as Elise Hefferman (left) of New Yorkers for Parks, science teacher Jennifer Hicks (second from right)and student volunteers hoist the first bag of bulbs.

When spring returns next year, the grounds of IS 259 in Bay Ridge will be ablaze in a sea of golden daffodils, a memorial to the victims of 9/11, many of whom were residents of the area.

Students in science teacher Jennifer Hicks’ after-school gardening program bent to the task of planting 3,000 daffodil bulbs at a mass planting ceremony on Oct. 20.

After attending the New York Botanic Garden Daffodil Project for educators, Hicks thought to herself, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to plant a bulb for every person who perished that day so that they will be remembered year after year?”

Since that would take a lot of bulbs and a pretty big space, she measured carefully and decided, “We could pull it off.”

A grant of $1,400 from Grow to Learn NYC, the citywide school gardens initiative, provided money for shovels and supplies, the Daffodil Project provided the bulbs, and students, staff and volunteers provided the labor.

And now the waiting begins, an important lesson for students studying plant reproduction in the 8th-grade science curriculum.

A follow-up tour of the dynamic 9/11 mural painted by students and former art teacher Tom Buxton in the main hallway of the school served to underscore the message of the daffodils.

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