Sedalia 200 heritage stands tall


By Hope Lecchi - [email protected]



The S-C Junior High Victory Bell stands next to one of the two trees carved this July by Ryan Meyer of the Wood Den. The Pecan tree and an Elm on the campus are more than 100 years old and were carved after they showed damage to their trunks.


Hope Lecchi|Democrat

An Elem tree on the Smith-Cotton Junior High school grounds is a sign of Tiger Pride for visitors to the school. Located by the gymnasium Jason Curry, S-C Junior High principal said the feedback has been very positive to the carvings adding he anticipates several visitors are planning to return to the campus for S-C Homecoming Sept. 16.


Hope Lecchi|Democrat

A detailed image of the Elm tree carving shows many of the knot-holes that artist Ryan Meyer had to work around when using chain saws to carve the initials of the school into the trunk. Although the tree has been topped it continues to sprout some leaves near the top of the trunk.


Hope Lecchi|Democrat

Wood artist Ryan Meyer carved the date of his work into the bottom of the trunk of the Elem tree located at the S-C Junior High Campus. Meyer spent July 13 and 14 carving both this Elm tree and a Pecan tree at the school.


Hope Lecchi|Democrat

The name of Sedalia School District 200 mascot, “Tigers” stands tall for students and visitors to admire on the campus of Smith-Cotton Junior High School. Rather than cut down a Pecan and Elm tree that suffered damage to their trunks, the decision was made to have the trees carved so they could remain a part of the school’s heritage.


Hope Lecchi|Democrat

When students returned Thursday at Smith-Cotton Junior High School, they saw many familiar images at the iconic campus, with two soon-to-be traditions to admire.

In two of the 100-year-old trees on the grounds, carvings were completed to show the Tiger pride of the school.

“Several years ago we had two trees on the grounds that had been showing signs of splits in their trunks,” Principal Jason Curry said. “They started to drop some large limbs and we knew there were safety concerns with the numbers of students who are on campus going to and from lunch and to the gym.

“We had the trees topped but the lineage of them goes back a long time and we knew we wanted to do something other than completely remove the trees,” Curry added. “That’s when we came up with the idea of having the trunks carved.”

The idea seemed simple but finding someone to actually do the work proved to be rather difficult.

“The hardest part was actually finding someone to do the carving for us,” Curry said. “I did some research on the Internet and I found a man from the St. Louis area who was willing to come down and do the work.”

Ryan Meyer of the Wood Den came to Sedalia to tackle the project July 13 and 14.

“It took him a lot of time, but he was able to complete the work in two days for us,” Curry said. “All he used were some chain saws with varying lengths of blades and some scaffolding but that was all he needed.”

Curry said Meyer went back and forth between the Pecan tree, located closest to the FEMA Building, and the Elm tree in front of the gymnasium throughout the time he spent on the job.

“He actually finished the Elm first, which is the smaller of the two tress, but it had more knots in it and the lettering in it was more intricate,” Curry said. “I thought it would be harder to do because we varied the lettering up a little bit from the large block style he used in the Pecan,” he added.

So far, the reaction to the tree art has been very positive, Curry said.

“The students have been really intrigued by them, and the alumni and community seemed pleased too,” Curry said. “I’ve seen a lot of posts by former students on social media.

“Homecoming is Sept. 16 and a lot of people are planning on coming back to the school for visits,” he added. “When he carved the letters in the in the Pecan he positioned them so they are in view of the bell on the grounds.”

There is a tradition at the school that whenever the staff and students celebrate a victory they stand in front of the bell for a photograph.

“We have a tradition of celebrating our victories here, no matter what they are, of taking a picture with everyone involved lined up by the bell,” Curry said. “Now we will not only be able to see the bell but ‘Tigers’ in the picture, which is a neat addition to our tradition.”

The S-C Junior High Victory Bell stands next to one of the two trees carved this July by Ryan Meyer of the Wood Den. The Pecan tree and an Elm on the campus are more than 100 years old and were carved after they showed damage to their trunks.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_tsd082716sctrees1.jpgThe S-C Junior High Victory Bell stands next to one of the two trees carved this July by Ryan Meyer of the Wood Den. The Pecan tree and an Elm on the campus are more than 100 years old and were carved after they showed damage to their trunks. Hope Lecchi|Democrat

An Elem tree on the Smith-Cotton Junior High school grounds is a sign of Tiger Pride for visitors to the school. Located by the gymnasium Jason Curry, S-C Junior High principal said the feedback has been very positive to the carvings adding he anticipates several visitors are planning to return to the campus for S-C Homecoming Sept. 16.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_tsd082716sctrees2.jpgAn Elem tree on the Smith-Cotton Junior High school grounds is a sign of Tiger Pride for visitors to the school. Located by the gymnasium Jason Curry, S-C Junior High principal said the feedback has been very positive to the carvings adding he anticipates several visitors are planning to return to the campus for S-C Homecoming Sept. 16. Hope Lecchi|Democrat

A detailed image of the Elm tree carving shows many of the knot-holes that artist Ryan Meyer had to work around when using chain saws to carve the initials of the school into the trunk. Although the tree has been topped it continues to sprout some leaves near the top of the trunk.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_tsd082716sctrees3.jpgA detailed image of the Elm tree carving shows many of the knot-holes that artist Ryan Meyer had to work around when using chain saws to carve the initials of the school into the trunk. Although the tree has been topped it continues to sprout some leaves near the top of the trunk. Hope Lecchi|Democrat

Wood artist Ryan Meyer carved the date of his work into the bottom of the trunk of the Elem tree located at the S-C Junior High Campus. Meyer spent July 13 and 14 carving both this Elm tree and a Pecan tree at the school.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_tsd082716sctree4.jpgWood artist Ryan Meyer carved the date of his work into the bottom of the trunk of the Elem tree located at the S-C Junior High Campus. Meyer spent July 13 and 14 carving both this Elm tree and a Pecan tree at the school. Hope Lecchi|Democrat

The name of Sedalia School District 200 mascot, “Tigers” stands tall for students and visitors to admire on the campus of Smith-Cotton Junior High School. Rather than cut down a Pecan and Elm tree that suffered damage to their trunks, the decision was made to have the trees carved so they could remain a part of the school’s heritage.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_tsd082717sctrees5.jpgThe name of Sedalia School District 200 mascot, “Tigers” stands tall for students and visitors to admire on the campus of Smith-Cotton Junior High School. Rather than cut down a Pecan and Elm tree that suffered damage to their trunks, the decision was made to have the trees carved so they could remain a part of the school’s heritage. Hope Lecchi|Democrat

By Hope Lecchi

[email protected]

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.

Sedalia Democrat

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.

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