FLUSHING — Flushing High School will pay tribute to graduates from the Class of 2020 by presenting a new landmark in their honor.
On July 24, the school will unveil a statue outside the William H. Tunnicliff Auditorium to recognize 2020 FHS graduates for their perseverance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The dedication ceremony will be held at noon on the same day as the Flushing Firefighters Association Car Show at Flushing High School.
The statue, which is an oak tree sculpted from steel, was funded by donations from Flushing residents in 2020 and commissioned by FHS parent Heather Wheeler.
Wheeler, who launched a fundraiser to give every 2020 FHS senior a special class sign for graduation, used the leftover funds from that campaign to commission the oak tree statue. Local artist David Satterwhite created the statue from 1800s-era salvage metal that he had transported from Chelsea, MI, forming the tree from scratch and etching each of its 600-plus leaves by hand.
Upon completion, the statue stands nine-feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds.
Wheeler said that the sculpture’s oak tree theme represents the strength and resilience displayed by 2020 graduates as they weathered the challenges posed by COVID-19.
“The Class of 2020 learned that when change happens, you just have to make it work, stay strong and keep the faith,” she said. “Dedicating this statue reminds the kids where their roots lie and how they persevered through tough times.”
Wheeler, whose daughter graduated last year at FHS, said that she wanted to give 2020 grads a special way to remember their senior years.
“They missed out on so much—a traditional commencement, prom and other events,” she said. “I just hope that when they see this statue, they’ll remember the good times they had at the high school and know that we love them so much.”
The public is invited to attend the statue dedication. Flushing High School is located on 5039 Deland Road.