Chester Grade School special education teachers and the Chester High School Class of 1961 recently remembered a beloved former special education teacher and friend, Linda Saunders, who passed away last year.
Saunders, who was a well known special education teacher at Chester Grade School, was a favorite at CGS and popular with both students, teachers and staff.
Last spring, Linda's Chester High School classmates from the Class of 1961 made a monetary memorial donation to the Grade School Special Education Department in Linda's memory. Saunders was a retired teacher from CGS who continued to be popular and well-liked among members of the special education teachers.
After receiving the memorial money last spring and thinking about how they could best remember Linda, the current special education staff decided to dedicate a tree at the entrance to the main lobby of CGS. A special memorial plaque accompanied the tree to keep the memory of Linda's life alive to all who knew her.
"We received the donation from the CHS Class of 1961 last spring and pondered how we could best remember Linda," said Special Education Teacher Lynne Gonzalez. "We thought about buying some books and maybe doing some other things, but as a group, we finally decided to plant a tree and place a memorial stone at the base of the tree.
"We planted a tree in May at the end of the school year," she added. "In the heat of summer, that original tree did not thrive, so when we came back to school in August we planted another beautiful tree, a weeping cherry tree, in the same location, and that tree has done well so far this school year."
The tree is located just to the right of the entrance to the main lobby of CGS in the landscaped area. A memorial stone is placed at the base of the tree that reads, "In memory of Linda Saunders, Special Education Teacher and Dear Friend. Her absence is a silent grief; Her life a beautiful memory. Planted with love by CHS Class of 1961."
Both the Chester High School Class of 1961 and Linda's friends and colleagues from the Chester Grade School Special Education Department hope that the tree survives and thrives so that teachers, students and visitors to CGS can enjoy the beauty of Linda's life and the contributions she made to CGS throughout her tenure, via the Weeping Cherry tree and Memorial Stone.