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Tree planted in honor of 8th Grader Brennen Still

On what would have been Brennen Still's 14th birthday, May 4th, the middle school students and the Still family gathered to plant a Sycamore tree in memory of Brennen. Brennen was the young man who courageously fought a battle with cancer and passed away earlier in the school year on September 29, 2020.

In honor of his life, the students gathered as the principal, Shelly Peterson spoke about Brennan. The Still family shared the task of planting the tree with the students. Ms. Peterson shared her thoughts and a poem about the Sycamore tree and why the student chose the tree.

"We are here to honor Brennen Still 8th-grade student at Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School. I cannot think of a more perfect remembrance for Brennen than planting a tree as he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and being outdoors.

As we were deciding on what tree to plant we left the decision up to his 8th grade classmates. They felt the Sycamore tree represented Brennen the best. Characteristics of a Sycamore tree include strength, protection, and eternity.

Under The Shade of A Sycamore Tree

I sit here, nobody else but the clock constantly talking to me. I sit here in silence. Right underneath the shade of the Sycamore tree. I sit here with my thoughts watching them roam from the flowers like a bee. I sit here, not really alone making secret little wishes then setting them free.

So as we plant this tree today think of a secret wish and plant it under our Sycamore tree."

Also speaking on behalf of Brennen's classmates was 8th Grade student Blaze Soquet. He shared his memories of Brennen bringing a smile to faces as he talked about the Brennen always wearing his zipped up sweatshirt in any situation, even after he had worked up a sweat in gym class. He shared how the students had supported Brennen during his battle and his memory of Brennen's bright smile. He also shared how Brennen didn't like a big deal to be made out of his birthday, but always wanted it to be just another day. Soquet said, that even though his battle on earth has ended, they will hold him in their hearts and memories. He concluded by thanking everyone for honoring and remembering him.

Brennen's story can be read here, here, and here.

A video of the tree dedication can be seen here. (I apologize for the poor sound quality, wind and highway noise is not a good combination)

More photos from the tree planting can be seen here

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