On the first celebration of Arbor Day 135 years ago in Nebraska City, Neb., a million trees were planted.
Randolph Elementary School wasn’t able to match that mark at its own Arbor Day celebration last week, planting only one small red oak tree.
But, according to Randolph principal Renee Bostick, the tree may one day grow 80 feet tall, two times the size of the school itself, and can live up to 100 years.
"I hope we’re all around to see that," she said.
The Arlington school, located south of Columbia Pike on Quincy Street, commemorated the tree-planting holiday with speeches and song.
The Randolph Elementary orchestra, conducted by Mary Lopez, showed their proficiency on string and wind instruments. Then the Randolph chorus, directed by Marjie Dwyer, sang three songs to the audience, which included county officials, local politicians and their fellow students.
"After 135 years of Arbor Days, we have a beautiful day here at Randolph," Arlington Superintendent of Schools Robert Smith said amidst clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70s.
Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Walter Tejada (D) spoke to the students about the meaning and importance of Arbor Day.
"Trees are an investment in the future," he said. "But they’re not just for the sights. They also clean the air."
At the ceremony, Arlington was presented with its 11th "Tree City USA" award by the Virginia Department of Forestry. The award goes to cities and towns that have shown their commitment to an ongoing forestry program.
The event was yet another example of Arlington emphasizing its commitment to environmental causes.
Heather McPhail, a parent of a Randolph student and president of the Randolph PTA, was thrilled that the county’s Arbor Day celebration was taking place at Randolph.
"Kids are really concerned about the environment," she said. "This is really big for them. They have to live in the world."
Randolph parent Rebecca Krafft agreed, saying that the Arbor Day celebration "shows kids that trees are important to have."