A small army descended on Lexington's Lafayette High School bright and early Saturday armed not with assault rifles, but with rakes and shovels.
Made up of Lafayette students, alumni and others, plus adults, kids, older people, entire families and at least one dog, the volunteers were soon making the dirt fly, planting 75 trees around the school campus and in a small park across the street.
The 75 trees commemorate the 75th anniversary of Lafayette, which graduated its first class in 1940, said former Urban County Council member Sandy Shafer, a 1974 graduate who spearheaded the project.
"Trees symbolize a strong, growing future, and that is what this school provides," Shafer said. "Trees are like schools, they keep on growing and giving."
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The Picadome Neighborhood Association underwrote the effort through a grant from Lexington's Urban County Government, and numerous individuals offered contributions and other support.
Every tree was in the ground by 10:30 Saturday morning, Shafer said.
"We probably had 75 volunteers, one for every tree, and that doesn't include some of the kids who were out here," she said.
To simplify the planting, holes for the trees were dug Friday with a tractor-mounted auger at specific locations around the school.
On Saturday, the volunteers maneuvered each tree into its assigned hole — tough work, since some of the trees were heavy — then filled the holes with soil. Finally, each tree got a thick, protective layer of black mulch.
It brought back fond memories for Carolyn Davis, 88. She noted that she, her daughter Sharon Wilham, and her grandsons Jefferson and Stuart Wilham planted some trees together on the Lafayette campus 23 years ago. Both boys graduated from the school.
They were all back Saturday to help plant the new trees.
Several varieties were planted: maples, hornbeams, redbuds, sweetbay magnolias, Princeton elms.
About the only glitch was the discovery that one too many holes had been dug (or perhaps one too few trees had been delivered).
Whatever the case, someone went to fetch an extra dogwood.
Joe Svec, a 2000 Lafayette grad, laid out the locations for the trees, working with the Fayette County Schools.
Another alumnus, David Bach, donated 31 trees from his farm.
Among the first volunteers to arrive Saturday were Lilly Sanders, a Lafayette junior, and Sarah Cahal, a sophomore.
Sharon Wilham told the girls that "30 years from now you can come back with your children and grandchildren and tell them you planted these trees."