Sixth-graders Austin Comins (left), Alex Patenaude and Karlee Square help Bruce Bonesteel of Bonesteel-s Gardening Center in Bangor dig a hole for a flowing crab tree in front of Salmon River Central School to commemorate the founding of the school 50 years ago.

BOMBAY -- Several generations of students gathered Friday at Salmon River Central School to plant a tree in honor of the founding of the school 50 years ago.

It is one of several events the district has planned to remember the children, faculty, administration and staff who have carried the school forward the past five decades.

Seven members of the Class of 1958 were on hand for the tree planting in front of the main building as past, current and potential members of the Future Farmers of America helped with the work.

Sixth-graders Karlee Square, Austin Comins and Alex Patenaude dug the hole with the help of Bruce Bonesteel, owner of Bonesteel's Gardening Center in Bangor and a former agriculture teacher at Salmon River.

He rewarded the children by giving each an evergreen tree to plant at their own homes to remember the special day.

The ceremony has been carried out many times before at Salmon River, as evidenced by the variety of species of mature trees that dot the front lawn of the school.

Bonesteel pointed out one tree planted in 1976 and another put in as a reward for the district placing first in a statewide Arbor Day competition.

The purple prince flowing crab tree planted Friday alongside a white lilac bush and red maple trees will grow to 20 feet tall and branch out another 20 feet, he said.

A memorial plaque remembering the Class of 1958 will also be placed at the base of the tree.

The school opened Feb. 11, 1958, and brought together Native American children and non-Native children from the communities of Westville, Fort Covington, Bombay and Hogansburg.

On Wednesday, May 21, the school intends to honor members of the 1958 baseball team during a game between Salmon River and St. Regis Falls.

Seven of the eight surviving team members and family representatives for the others will be there, said School Board President Robert Durant.

He said that during a game in February, Salmon River honored members of the school's basketball team from 1958, which won the Section X title that season.

The largest celebration will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, when the school holds a rededication ceremony and open house.

Volunteers will offer tours of the campus building, and displays and exhibits will describe the history of the school, the greatest achievements earned by its students and much more.

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