The CHS Memorial Forest #givingback

Web Design February, 17 2020

This year we decided that one of ReecerMedia’s goals would be to “give back” by providing web services to a non-profit organization that was near and dear to our hearts. Marni discovered the opportunity within her own family, based near Seattle, Washington. Marni’s stepdad, John “Roger” Barton, at age 84, is the Vice President of the Cleveland High School Alumni Association of Seattle, Washington. Her mom, Mary Lou Barton the Secretary. Both graduated from Cleveland High School in 1954.

Here is the who-what-where-when-how-why of the project (Not necessarily in that order). Please read, share visit clevelandalumsea.org and follow them on social media to support this worthy goal of preserving The CHS Memorial Forest.

The Website connection

First of all, CHSAA desperately needed a new website. The old one was outdated and did not provide users with a way to fully comprehend and take action on the initiatives that the CHSAA was behind. So Roger contacted Marni, and she eagerly put together a proposal along with recommendations and an initial concept. After a careful and thorough review by the board, the proposal was accepted. Roger and Marni got to work. Conversations began, files were shared, old newsletters resurfaced and the website began to take shape. More importantly, the connection to the project grew stronger and stronger.

“As I started the work, I began to learn more about this Forest that my stepdad would talk about. I knew they had Memorial Weekend ceremonies, I knew it had to do with veterans, but I did not know the whole story. As I combed through the info and history buried in old web files and got my hands on old reports, presentations, pictures, and a certain book that had been published, my heart went out to this project and I decided to do more than just build a website. I wanted to get them on social media, collect email subscribers, send email campaigns and a blog. I wanted to do everything I could to help generate more awareness and love for the CHS Memorial Forest.” ~ Marni Reecer

So what is the CHS Memorial Forest?

The CHA Memorial Forest consists of 131 acres of second-growth timber, including Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Red Cedar. Inviting trails cut through lush vegetation and a salmon spawning stream finds protection here.  The Annual Memorial Day ceremony hosted by the CHS Alumni Association honors former classmates who perished in World War II and in more recent wars.

How did it start?

At the height of World War II, the students of Cleveland High School (CHS) in Seattle, Washington sought a way to memorialize classmates who had died in service to our country. To that end, they collected over $300, including gifts from the graduation classes of 1943 and 1944, to purchase land for a memorial forest. 

At a county tax auction in July 1944, Vice Principal Ray Imus bid on a quarter section of logged-off land east of Issaquah on the Issaquah – Fall City Road. When other bidders learned that the students hoped to create a memorial forest to commemorate their fallen classmates, no one bid against Imus and the clear-cut land was acquired for $300. The deed was issued to Principal Kenneth Selby. When Selby retired in December of 1944 it was determined that the high school couldn’t own property so ownership of the memorial forest was transferred to the Seattle School District as:

“A Perpetual Memorial to the Cleveland students who lost their lives in the war.”

Who are the CHS Gold Stars?

So who are the “students who lost their lives in the war”. To find out Marni opened the book HONORED DEAD by Patricia Sullivan Rosenkranz CHS Class of ’49 that Roger handed her on a recent visit to Washington. In it, she saw their faces. She read their dates, some had bios, some had no pictures, but all were remembered, all were honored and to her that needed sharing.

“The book Honored Dead, was all the inspiration I needed to create a video. A simple statement of the horrors of war, the loss of young lives and the importance to never forget.” ~ Marni Reecer

Please take a few minutes to watch now:

Show your support – you can help!

Letters of support are currently being collected in an effort to protect the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest by having the Seattle Public Schools sell the development rights of the property to the King County Parks Department so the property can never be developed for any other use by SPS or any future owner.

Please sign download, print, and mail your letter of support by March 15, 2020, to

CHS Alumni Association
c/o J R Barton, Vice President
21006 SE 268th Ct.
Covington, WA 98042

View/Print/Download the following documents:

 

“CHS is the only high school in the UNIVERSE with a Memorial Forest.” ~ John R. Barton

That’s quite a statement. But it is true! Let’s keep it that way! Join ReecerMedia in supporting the CHSAA.

If you have any questions or want to know more please visit the website we are so proud of https://clevelandalumsea.org 

Also, please like and follow the CHSAA on social media!

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