Fourth grader Joseph Cavagnaro strolls through campus each morning with his mom, Mary, on their way to Montclair’s Bradford School. When trees that lined College Avenue were removed during the beautification project between the Cali School of Music and Panzer Gymnasium, Joseph surely noticed that his morning walk suddenly lacked nature’s beauty. He was particularly saddened that one tree he especially liked was gone.
"Several of the trees were diseased and had to be removed," said Jack Shannon, vice president for University Advancement. "Unfortunately one of those trees was the one in which Joseph took a special interest."
Since the University had always intended to replace the trees, it was decided that one would be dedicated to Joseph and classmates. A Dan Fenton American Holly, located at the Normal Avenue entrance near the Cali School, was officially dedicated at a ceremony Oct. 28. A bronze plaque will be placed in front of the tree. It reads:
The Bradford Tree
Dedicated to Joseph Cavagnaro
and his 4th grade class
Bradford School, Montclair
Joseph, his classmates, their teacher, Wendy Gismondi, co-teacher Lauren Wenning and Bradford School Principal Naomi Kirkman joined University officials in the dedication. Four students read poems and talked about how to keep a tree healthy. Then each student had an opportunity to shovel dirt onto the tree's base. As a keepsake from the event, the students were given plants with care instructions and Scholastic, Inc. donated books on plant life for their classroom.