The Epitaph: Issue 6 ISSUE6PAGE3
Published: April 2, 2015
By Shauli Bar-On
The oak tree, which used to stand in front of the library, was a fixture on campus since the beginning of the school’s history, in 1969.
Although the tree was cut down in 2009, it is in the process of being turned into a bench for students, thanks to a project led by current and former staff.
The endeavor is being coordinated by ceramics teacher Katie Schiltz, student advocate Steve Schmidt and former English teacher Mary Hill. Schiltz, who is leading the bench project, has been a teacher at Homestead since 2008.
These staff members have a special connection to the tree because of their long history at Homestead and their desire to preserve significant aspects of the old campus.
“The oak tree outside the library was very important to Homestead and has been sorely missed,” Schmidt said.
Hill, who now teaches in FUHSD’s Middle College program at De Anza, was a strong advocate for saving the wood pieces and urged that the wood pieces be used for a good cause.
The wood remained on campus for a few years in order to be dried out while staff brainstormed ways to use it. Once Schiltz and Schmidt put together their plan of creating benches out of the wood, it was presented to the administration and approved.
After researching the bench construction process, Schiltz found the Global Wood Source company in Santa Clara that would plank and smooth the wood to be used for the bench’s sitting area.
The plan is to recruit boy scouts from HHS to help put six to eight benches together in the next few years.
Although these benches will not be fully operational for quite some time due to the ongoing construction, students will be able to see the new benches in offices and in Schiltz’s room and Schmidt’s office.
The final result is envisioned to be benches in front of the library in the place where the original oak tree once stood. The administration is also considering installing plaques on the benches to honor the tree from which they came.