Earth Day celebration turns emotional at Beauvoir Elementary - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Earth Day celebration turns emotional at Beauvoir Elementary

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - They sang uplifting songs, shared environmental artwork and took a pledge to fight pollution.

"I pledge to reduce, reuse, recycle paper and plastic," a group of students recited.

Students, teachers, parents and administrators gathered at Beauvoir Elementary School Thursday for festivities to honor Earth Day.

"Please help us keep our earth beautiful," a little girl told the crowd.

The celebration came on the heels of some heartbreaking news that Beauvoir is closing its doors at the end of the school year.

"Today was more emotional, knowing this will be one of the last events that we'll have here," said Jennifer Bickel, a parent of two children at Beauvoir.

"Nobody wants to see a school close. Everybody loves their community schools, neighborhood schools. It's very difficult," said Biloxi Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale.

The highlight of the event was a tree planting ceremony. Many found it hard to watch a Red Maple being planted on a campus that will soon be empty and quiet.

"I'm very emotional," said Donna Haire, a parent of twins at Beauvoir. "It's just very hard to know that we're not going to be able to see this tree grow up, like our children."

"How do we plant a tree, and then leave it?" asked the school principal Dr. Melanie Nelson.

For Nelson, the tree symbolized hope that Beauvoir will come back. After all, her former school, 28th Street Elementary in Gulfport, was ruined by Katrina, but now, it's about to reopen.

"I said let's move forward. Let's plant that tree with the hope that the roots will dig in deep and be there for us when we return," said Nelson.

Although the Beauvoir family will be splintered next year, they will never forget their roots.

"Each one of us plants the seed of knowledge. And you take that seed, and you spread it wherever you go," a teacher told the group.

"Just because our doors close doesn't mean that our hearts and our memories will go away,  so I'll be stopping by to check on it," said Nelson.

"My daughter actually got to throw dirt on the tree," said Haire. "I was actually crying, but it's a good thing, because maybe the tree will grow and the children can come back and remember where they came from."

Beauvoir students will either attend Popps Ferry or Jeff Davis Elementary Schools next school year. Those boundaries will be finalized in May. 

Nichols Elementary and Michel Sixth Grade School will also close due to drops in enrollment in the district and local and state budget cuts.

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