Aerial View of Memorial Forest

Development Rights Proposal Passed Unanimously

Our proposal to sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest went before the full school board today and . . . PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.  Noel Treat served as the attorney for SPS.  In the discussion prior to the vote, the line most commonly stated was our line . . . It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN situation.  SPS wins, King County Parks wins, and the CHSAA wins.

The proposal also included the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SPS and CHSAA, which calls for $150,000 for a new lyceum, and CHSAA would be allowed to put up a new sign calling it the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest.

Board Meeting Minutes Excerpt:

Cleveland High School Memorial Forest Conservation Easement Agreement with King County and Memorandum of Understanding with the Cleveland High School Alumni Association (Ops, February 4, for approval) Approval of this item would authorize the Superintendent to execute a Conservation Easement Purchase and Sale Agreement with King County and to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between Seattle Public Schools and the Cleveland High School Alumni Association in the form of the draft agreements attached to the BAR, with any minor additions, deletions, and modifications deemed necessary by the Superintendent to implement these agreements. (Updated Since Introduction) Director Hersey moved to approve this item. Director Rivera-Smith seconded. Director DeWolf noted the update since introduction to add an excerpt from the Cleveland High School alumni newsletter. Directors spoke in support of the item.

This motion passed unanimously.

View minutes: https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/20-21%20agendas/March%2024/C01_20210324_Minutes_20210310.pdf

Aerial View of Memorial Forest

CHS Memorial Forest Update: Meeting with SPS

The Operations Committee of the Seattle School Board met via video conference on February 4th to address the proposal to sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD). Noel Treat, the attorney handling the case for Seattle Public Schools (SPS), was to offer the presentation and invited CHS Alumni Association’s Vice President John Barton (Class of ’54)  to participate so he could answer questions about the letters of support if asked.

Mr. Barton was asked to comment after Mr. Treat spoke and briefly went over the alumni concerns over the survivability of the forest and said that selling the development rights to King County Parks was a great way of protecting the forest far into the future.

Before the meeting, Mr. Barton sent a series of emails to each school board member. Each email represented one of the military/patriotic organizations from which the Alumni Association received a letter of support for preserving the forest. Along with their letter of support, he included membership numbers of the respective organization for Washington State and King County. “The original intent was to dump a million letters of support on their desks, but that was difficult to do in a video-conference meeting,” said Mr. Barton.

Mr. Barton sent a second email to board members, that offered a brief history of the forest and the concerns of CHS alumni including:

  1. How the students worked for two years to save $300 to honor their fallen classmates.
  2. How Vice-Principal Imus took the $300 to a tax auction of logged-off timberland to bid on 131.52 acres.
  3. How no one bid against VP Imus when they heard the CHS students wanted to create a memorial forest.
  4. How the CHS students planted 10,000 trees on the logged-off land.
  5. How today, it’s a beautiful forest of Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Red Cedar, and is worth millions of dollars.
  6. How it was determined years ago that a high school cannot own property, so it was given to the school district as a perpetual memorial to . . “the Cleveland boys who lost their lives while serving in the United States armed forces.”
  7. How some people would sell the property just to get the money.

Barton then summarized the email by pointing out to prevent the property from being developed for any other use, the CHS Alumni proposes that the development rights of the property be sold to King County Parks as part of their conservation program.

Highlighted were the positive aspects of this proposal for all:

“We see this proposal as a WIN-WIN-WIN agreement. SPS retains ownership, KCPD expands their conservation program, and the CHS Alumni concerns for the longevity of the forest would be put to rest.”

A short discussion by the school board members followed. They mentioned the military and patriotic organizations that had provided letters of support, and they quoted Barton’s WIN-WIN-WIN statement above. It turns out that KCPD will pay $3.47 million for the development rights of the property if this agreement is accepted by both parties.

The board made a motion to submit the proposal to the full school board meeting and it passed unanimously.

The presentation of the CHSAA’s proposal to the full school board is scheduled for March 10th.

Saving the CHS Memorial Forest

Saving the CHS Memorial Forest

If we’re to save the Cleveland Memorial Forest, we need your help. Right Now. Here’s the story. And one simple thing you can do to help.

Background

During WWII, enterprising CHS students with an eye to the future raised $300 to purchase property for a memorial forest. To make this dream a reality, they planted 10,000 trees and named it the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest, and dedicated it to CHS alumni who lost their lives during the war.

Today, it’s a beautiful 131-acre virgin forest filled with Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, and Western Red Cedar. It’s located northeast of Issaquah, and today it is worth millions of dollars. The property was given to Seattle Public Schools (SPS) as
a perpetual memorial to “the Cleveland boys who lost their lives during the war.” But now, with the school system always in need of money, alumni fear the property will be sold or used for some other purpose.

The CHS Alumni Association has been promoting a plan for SPS to sell the development rights to the property to a land-conservation group so the land can never be developed for any other use. SPS would still own the property, but this single act would likely protect the property in perpetuity from being developed for other uses.

We are making good progress in saving the forest. Should our plan proceed, it would have to be presented to the Seattle School Board for approval. We can best demonstrate broad-based support to preserve the Cleveland Memorial Forest by presenting letters of support from alumni and military-related
organizations.

Progress

We had a busy spring gathering letters of support from alumni and military-related organizations to protect the CHS Memorial Forest. So far, we have received letters of support from the following national organizations, plus 54 from alumni.

  • The American Legion
  • The Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Daughters of the American Revolution
  • American Ex-Prisoners of War
  • The Marine Corps League
  • The World War II Museum
  • Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

The American Legion has 21,000 members in Washington State with over 6,000 members in King County. The Veterans of Foreign Wars has 24,000 members in Washington State, with over 7,000 members in King County. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has 2,360 members in Washington State with 600 members in King County.

Failure

While we requested letters of support from the 6,800 recipients of the CHS Alumni newsletter, we’re greatly disappointed that only 54 people responded – less than one percent. To make matters even worse, the very first letter of support came from Diana Hill, a Franklin High School graduate. Diana is the wife of CHS graduate, Bradley Hill ’56 (you made a good choice, Bradley). Such a low response rate will not be persuasive to the School Board. Alumni must step up with letters of support if we are to keep the forest out of the hands of developers.

The CHS Memorial Forest is a beautiful memorial to alumni who lost their lives while fighting for our country. We cannot let it fall to real estate developers.

CHS alumni, we cannot do this without your help. Please step up with your support by downloading the letter-of-support form, and emailing or mailing a signed copy to us. We’ll get it delivered and save our forest.

Remember, CHS is unique. We are the only high school in the universe that has a memorial forest dedicated to alumni who lost their lives while fighting for our country during World War II.

Download a Letter of Support Form

 

Memorial Day Weekend 2020

CHS Alumni board members, John R Barton, Alison Sing, and Bernie Moskowitz offer thoughts and music for this year’s Memorial Day, since we are not able to hold the annual ceremony in the CHS Memorial Forest.
Photo credit: Suzi Wong Swint @conwaysuz

A place of honor in our hearts and minds.

“Memorial Day is a day to honor our fallen heroes who lost their lives while serving our country in the United States armed forces. They sacrificed so our country could survive in a world often filled with strife, conflict, and turmoil.  We, the citizens of this country, owe them our gratitude, respect, and a place of honor in our hearts and minds. Our fallen heroes lost everything, including their opportunity for marriage, family, career, and the pursuit of happiness – the things we take for granted.

This Memorial Day is different because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Normally, we would have a ceremony at the Cleveland Memorial Forest with students, alumni, and staff from our high school. Our ceremony would include an honor guard from Camp Murray, Bernie Moskowitz would play taps, and an American flag would be folded by students and presented to a family member of a fallen hero.

In place of our normal ceremony, we’ve put together a special video, as an opportunity for all of us to give pause and honor our special CHS fallen heroes.

We hope you’ll watch, remember, share with others, and may God Bless America.”

John Barton, Class of ’54
Vice President
CHS Alumni Association
Seattle, Washington


Remembering their unselfish sacrifice.

“As I wake up each day to face the challenges of current COVID-19 pandemic; I am thankful to all those men and women who wore our nation’s uniform and gave their ultimate sacrifice so that I can wake up each day to smell the roses, see the sunlight, and breathe the air. Their unselfish sacrifice without even knowing what challenges would face those they left behind engenders the best in all Americans who did not hesitate when their nation called for help. I am deeply proud of all the men and women, individuals who represent all nationalities and beliefs; that the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans must at times come with sacrifice. A sacrifice that those of us who wore the nation’s uniform was willing to give.

Let us honor them who have passed with the dignity that they have earned on our behalf so that we are here today among our families and friends. Let us not forget their families who lost their loved one on Memorial Day. For me, their sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

Although we may not gather to celebrate this special day with parades and fireworks, this is a small sacrifice we must endure. So, take a quiet moment in your home just say, “thank you” for your sacrifice, we shall never forget.”

Alison Sing ‘64

Cleveland Eagles Soar by Alison Sing

>>> Click here to learn more about our heroes. <<<

Update on saving the Memorial Forest

As reported by John Barton ‘54

REQUESTING LETTERS OF SUPPORT

We have been busy through February, March, and April requesting letters of support from alumni and patriotic organizations to help ensure the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest. As explained in recent publications, our basic objective is to have Seattle Public School (SPS) sell the development rights of the Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD). Under this plan, SPS would retain ownership of the property but the forest would become a part of the King County forest conservation program, and could not be developed by SPS or any future owner.

We sent requests to over 100 patriotic organizations asking for their support and we received a good response. The most significant responses were from:

To our surprise, the American Legion post in Bellevue, WA sent a financial donation. And the local chapter of the DAR wants to be involved in our next ceremony at the Memorial Forest.

Protecting the CHS Memorial Forest

We started a letter drive in mid-February to solicit letters of support from alumni, individuals and patriotic organizations to back our plan to have Seattle Public Schools (SPS) sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD) –– the details of this plan have been documented several times in past newsletters, and you may read them on the CHSAA website (www.clevelandalumsea.org). These letters of support are addressed to the Seattle School Board but mailed to CHSAA so we can hand-deliver them en masse at a time that provides maximum impact for protecting the CHS Memorial Forest. The following reflects our results to date.
The American Legion provided a great response, with letters of support from four posts in King County, one from the Gig Harbor area, and another from California. We didn’t solicit money in our drive, but Bellevue Post #239 sent us a check to help pay for our mailing expenses.

The American Legion has two million members nationwide, with 21,000 in Washington State and 6,000 in King County. All of the American Legion posts that we solicited sent a letter of support.

  • KIRKLAND POST #99
  • KENT-MERIDIAN POST #685
  • KENT POST #15
  • BELLEVUE POST #239
  • PENINSULA POST #236
  • PRUNEDALE, CA POST #593

Similarly, we received a great response from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW has 475,000 members across the nation, with 24,000 in Washington State, and 7,000 in King County. We only had the address of two posts, but they responded favorably with letters of support:

  • Renton Post #1263
  • Kent-Meridian Post #6785

According to Commander Craig Dougherty of the VFW, there are 550,000 military veterans in Washington State. It is hard to imagine a single one of them not being in favor of supporting the CHS Memorial Forest. More than 160,000 of those veterans (30%) live in King County.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) sent in a letter of support. The DAR has 180,000 members, with 2,360 in Washington State and 600 members in King County. The president of their Bellevue chapter, Lanabeth Horgen, is enthusiastic about the memorial forest and wants to participate in our next annual ceremony.

The Marine Corps League provided a letter of support for the CHS Memorial Forest. They represent 65,000 members overall, with 600 in Washington State and 43 in King County.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Lancaster, Massachusetts, offer their full support. They have 6,200 members at the national level.

We Need Your Support

Download a letter of support, sign, and mail it to the address on the form. We will mail it with all the other letters we receive at a time that provides maximum impact for protecting our Memorial Forest.

Submit your letter of support

Read more about the Memorial Forest

NOTE: Our request-for-support campaign has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. Many organizations we tried to contact were shut down or not responsive.

Aerial View of Memorial Forest

Help protect the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest

Please demonstrate your support of the plan to protect the longevity of the CHS Memorial Forest by having SPS sell the development rights of the property to the KCPD so the property can never be developed for any other use by SPS or any future owner.

For years, CHS alumni have been concerned about the CHS Memorial Forest being sold or developed for some use other than being a memorial.  The best way to protect the forest is to sell the development rights of the property to the King County Parks Department. This would result in a conservation easement being placed on the property to prevent development by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) or any future buyer of the property.  King County (KC) Parks is very much interested in purchasing the development rights as part of their conservation program.  The school district and park department are working on an agreement to make this happen, but the idea still needs to be approved by the Seattle School Board.  This is where you may be able to help.

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:

Protecting the CHS Memorial Forest

There has been slow progress in getting Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to sell the development rights of the CHS Memorial Forest to the King County Parks Department (KCPD). This has been our objective – a way of protecting the forest far into the future. Following such a transaction, SPS or any future buyer of the property would not be able to develop the property for any other purpose. I requested from David Kemmett (of KCPD) an update on the negotiations they are having with SPS:

School district administration staff have reviewed our proposal and provided comments. The district is also conducting its own appraisal. We hope to finalize an agreement in the next few months which would then need to go before the school district board for their review and approval.

In a recent email from Mr. Kemmett, he revealed that they, KCPD, would like to have an access trail/road across the north side of the property to connect Duthie Hill Park with Fall City Park West and the Forterra property. [The Forterra Property is a forest conservation group.]

The problem with this plan is that Duthie Hill Park is a mountain bike park and we have already had mountain bikes encroaching on the Memorial Forest and damaging some trails. I haven’t talked to a vast number of people on this subject, but I know of no alumnus who is in favor of having mountain bikes in the Memorial Forest.

I sent an email to Mr. Kemmett requesting that, in the spirit of our first Friends of the Forest meeting in September 2018, the members of the CHSAA forest committee be allowed to review their proposal to SPS. As suspected, they can’t do that in the middle of negotiations. In desperation, I contacted the Fonterra group to see if we could find an ally in them. Unfortunately, even motorbikes or motorized vehicles are not a problem with them.

We arranged a meeting with Mr. Noel Treat, the legal counsel who is representing SPS in the negotiations. Our objective was to convince Mr. Treat that we (CHSAA) are partners with him in the negotiations –– not an adversary. We expressed the following concerns:

  1. We are opposed to bicycles or any other vehicle encroaching into the Memorial Forest.
  2. We recommended that KCPD be responsible for placing barriers across trails to stop bicycles and similar vehicles.
  3. We recommended that the access strip be limited to a 15-foot-wide strip along the north edge of the property to connect Duthie Hill Park with Fall City Park West.
  4. We recommended that KCPD provide a bridge over Canyon Creek to protect fish.
  5. We suggested that SPS use a small fraction of the money they receive to
    • Rebuild the Lyceum (a 30×55 foot shelter destroyed by arson).
    • Develop and implement a Forest Management Plan (see below).

Unless someone comes up with a better idea, it seems that the best we can do is work towards a compromise where KCPD gets a narrow strip for mountain bikes on the north edge of the Memorial Forest, and we get barriers on the south side of the strip to prevent encroachment by bikes into the forested area.

Future Plans

Assuming that the development rights of the Memorial Forest are sold to KCPD, we intend to push SPS to work with CHSAA members to develop and implement a Forest Management Plan. The purpose of such a plan would be the prevention of “our” forest from being contaminated with large quantities of alder trees and salmonberry bushes. We believe a profit could be made by selective harvesting under this plan. The benefit to SPS would be a financially independent forest that is an asset to SPS and the community.

What else is bugging us

What value is there in a memorial to our war heroes if the memorial name doesn’t identify the heroes. SPS continues to refer to “our” memorial as the Cleveland Memorial Forest. Our memorial was not developed to honor President Grover Cleveland. The Cleveland National Forest in California does that. The proper name for our forest should be . . . The Cleveland High School Memorial Forest. We intend to persuade SPS to change the name, and CHSAA should agree to pay for a new sign – a sign made of concrete instead of wood. The last sign was broken up and burned by a homeless person living in the area.

Counting our successes

So far our new (2017) granite monument has not been vandalized, as our old bronze plaques were. Our new monument weighs almost a ton, it is difficult to steal and there is not a great market for used granite. I did apply another coat of anti-graffiti material to the monument in 2019.

CHS alumni should be proud that we are the only high school in the universe that has a memorial forest dedicated to alumni who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces of our government.

John R. Barton
Class of ’54

CHSAA Memorial Forest Ceremony 2019

Memorial Forest Ceremony 2019

The CHS Alumni Association (CHSAA) staged its annual ceremony at the Memorial Forest, as usual on the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend. We had a good turnout with over 100 students and teachers (4 buses) plus the usual contingent of alumni who show up for the event. According to humanities teacher, Andy Coughran, the students loved the forest, and they liked meeting the alumni and knowing that Cleveland is a big community that goes all the way back to 1927. The students were thankful for the experience and the ability to connect with past generations. The teachers were pleased with the event. Andy said that “The forest and ceremony are very special and we love having our students connect with the alumni.”

The American flag was folded by three students: Isaiah-James Draculan, Kim Nguyen, and Andre Cabebe. Joan Koch, the recipient of the flag, represented ALL mothers who lost sons and daughters who were serving their country in times of war.
This year’s ceremony was a big success in terms of student participation, but it wasn’t without some problems. The honor guard from Camp Murray went to the high school instead of the Forest.

As we do every year, CHSAA provided lunches for everyone and paid for the buses.

A great bunch of students participated in the event. Without being asked, they set up chairs for the event and put them away afterward. The grounds, maintained by caretaker Roger Startzman, were as immaculate after the event as they were before.

Joan Koch was particularly moved by the quiet and respectful attention of the students during the ceremony. Bill Koch was also impressed with the students’ behavior and the effective way the faculty advisors handled the students… they let the students know what was expected of them, and the students were helpful and well behaved. The students seemed to appreciate and understand what the ceremony represented. Kudos to the students and their faculty for pitching in and helping clean up.

As usual, the event was highlighted by a flyover of thestealthfightersquadron,whichoccurredjustasBer- nie Moskowitz finished playing Taps. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see or hear them but we knew they were there. TheyhadflownfromArea51toparticipateintheevent. NextyearwearehopingforaB52flyoversowecansee and hear it.
Following the event, many of alumni went to the Roadhouse Inn & Restaurant in Fall City for lunch. Ev- eryone seemed to enjoy themselves.

CHS Memorial Forest

A feeling of pride

'A feeling of pride' - Cleveland High School war memorial — a forest in Issaquah — is rededicated

By Susan Kelleher Seattle Times staff reporter

The school’s alumni who died in wars are remembered in words and deed Friday, as classmates place a monument amid the beauty of a forest purchased just for them during World War II.

By Susan Kelleher Seattle Times staff reporter

Jenny Rose stood in front of a new granite monument at the edge of the Cleveland High School Memorial Forest on Friday morning and recalled her childhood friend, Iggy.

“He was just a little guy,” Rose said, “but he was always the one who was laughing.”

She and Iggy grew up in the shadow of the old Rainier Brewery, two among a multiethnic pack of kids who wore the red-and-white colors of Cleveland’s Eagles, and sang the school song with gusto, she said.

When Iggy was drafted into the U.S. Army in the late 1960s to fight in the Vietnam War, Rose and her friends corresponded with him regularly.

“And then one day, the letters stopped,” she said, choking back tears.

Seeing his name — Ignacio E. Duro — etched in granite at the memorial forest for the first time on Friday was a healing moment, she said, one that connected her to four generations of Eagles who gathered to rededicate the forest in a ceremony that has honored Cleveland’s fallen alumni for more than 72 years.

The forest dates back to World War II, when schools around the country feverishly raised money for the war effort. Well-funded schools raised enough for a tank, a jeep, even a plane for the U.S. military. Cleveland’s working-class students raised $300 between 1943 and 1944, said John Barton, the Cleveland High School Alumni Association vice president.

Barton, Class of ’54, said students were embarrassed that they weren’t able to raise more. That year, at the suggestion of their principal, they used the money to buy 131 acres of logged land in what is now Issaquah. Students worked to restore the land, planting trees and building trails and facilities for visitors.

Cleveland High School Memorial Forest

After World War II, students in Cleveland’s metal shop made a brass plaque with the names of alumni who died fighting the war. They attached it to a large, flat boulder situated in a clearing amid Sitka spruce, big-leaf maple, Douglas fir and Western red cedar.

Another plaque was attached to honor two more alumni who died in World War II, and a third plaque was added to include alumni killed in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Every year, the school and association honored them in a ceremony at the forest on the Friday before Memorial Day. Three years ago, the plaques were pried from the rock face and stolen.

Roger Startzman, the forest’s caretaker, said a homeless man living in the forest may have taken them, along with virtually every other sign in the forest and on surrounding properties.

“Who knows why?” he said.

The alumni association was aghast. They decided to raise funds for a replacement — a granite one that in Barton’s words would last for thousands of years, be difficult to move, and have little resale value.

Members geared up for a fundraising campaign, but a single donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, cut a check last year for the entire amount: $13,064.32.

Now, all 43 fallen alumni are etched on a single granite stone prominently seated at the head of the meadow closest to the entrance.

Startzman, a Navy veteran who has overseen the forest for the past nine years, said the monument’s placement has created a more sanctified feeling to the grounds.

“It gives you a feeling of pride to be here,” said Startzman, who served in Vietnam during the 1970s.

Service remembered

Some veterans at Friday’s ceremony were older than the monument, and they recalled their own service or that of fallen friends.

Emil Martin, 94, Class of ’40, who served in the South Pacific during World War II, remembered his friend Robert Kennewick, who played baseball, football and basketball, and also worked on the stage crew during theater productions in high school.

Kennewick was a member of the Cleveland High French Language Club, Hi-Y, the Boys’ Club and the High School Coordinating Class, according to “Honored Dead,” Patricia Sullivan Rosenkranz’s book about Cleveland’s fallen veterans. In 1941, he was elected class president.

After high school, Kennewick worked at Boeing, studied engineering at the University of Washington and enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1943. It was a life trajectory that any current Cleveland student would recognize.

But Kennewick was killed a year later, flying a B-17 bomber over Germany when another, damaged B-17 crashed into him.

During the ceremony, Brent Jones, Seattle Public Schools’ chief strategy and partnerships officer, said the memorial forest is an apt metaphor for trauma and the power of nature to heal.

The forest, he said, had experienced the traumas of being twice logged, burned in parts and scarred by railroad tracks. Over the years, it had been neglected.

But those traumas, he said, camouflaged the underlying beauty of the place, and the renewal it is now experiencing.

“This forest is a place of nurturing and teaching,’’ he said. “Look around you. New trees have been planted and are thriving. Youth Corps have created trails and bridges. The camouflage of trauma and neglect has given way to a rebirth of environmental learning and preservation.”

The new memorial, he said, was not merely a replacement of names but “a way to connect with the aspects of humanity that make us all better people.”

And so all those many years ago, the students at Cleveland who worried about the value of their gift may now take comfort in knowing they may have given the most enduring gift of all.

View Source: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/vet-seattles-cleveland-high-memorial-forest-gives-you-a-feeling-of-pride/

2006 Memorial Ceremony

A high school’s forest of memories

To keep dry from a heavy downpour, students and alumni from Cleveland High School huddled shoulder-to-shoulder under umbrellas and awnings at the entrance of an Eastside forest that students purchased 60 years ago to memorialize their peers who died in World War II.

The 10th annual trek of students and alumni to the Cleveland Memorial Forest on Friday was cut short by the rain, but not before Cleveland senior Clara Ulugalu could be seen drying the wetness from her cheeks.

Ulugalu got emotional after she and senior classmate LaSharon Walker acted as color guard during the half-hour ceremony. After 1957 graduate Bernie Moskowitz played “Taps” on a bugle, the two students raised the flag from half-staff to full, then lowered, removed and folded it into a neat triangle.

It was the first year that current students were given the honor of raising and lowering the flag at the ceremony.

“I am honored to learn how to do this and then to be able to do it,” Ulugalu said. “Because we all know what the flag stands for.”

The students also know what the forest stands for.

Cleveland’s graduates from 1943 and 1944 raised $500 to buy the forest, 131 acres near Issaquah, as a combined senior-class gift — a way to pay homage to peers who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country.

Forty-one men — 30 veterans from World War II, seven from Korea and four from Vietnam — are memorialized at the forest, their names engraved on three bronze plaques. They are called “Fallen Eagles,” a respectful nod to the mascot for the Beacon Hill school.

Ed Boprey, a 1945 graduate who attended Cleveland during the war years, said the upperclassmen raised money through plant sales and selling recyclables, such as newspapers, tires, and batteries. One teacher helped out with a $100 loan.

“All the teachers were behind the effort,” Boprey said.

They still are. Faith Beatty, who has taught at Cleveland since 1981, considers it her responsibility to educate her students about the memorial forest, and the stories behind it. The forest is owned by the Seattle School District, and while there is no indication the district plans to sell the forest, Cleveland alumni are never secure in that belief. The land is now worth several million dollars.

“I strongly believe we have to keep this a memorial forest,” Beatty said. “So I have to educate my students about it all the time so they will continue to carry the banner for us. The students need to feel that they are part of this forest.”

About 35 of Cleveland’s music and drama students attended the ceremony, which has taken place annually since 1997, always on the Friday before Memorial Day. A choir sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the drumline performed. Students read short bios of some of the dead.

They also recited poems, such as this one by classmate Jemeika Berry:

Honored, marching courageous hearts

Through our city’s streets

Joyous youth tainted

Overwhelmed by the touch of lethal steel

Boys made men

Sent to be our land’s choice

To join in battle on foreign soil

To be the chosen few.

Eight alumni also attended the ceremony, including Dick Kennewick, a 1941 graduate whose twin brother, Bob, was killed over Germany on Dec. 9, 1944.

“This forest is a symbol for all of the kids in Seattle who died in World War II, and other wars, too,” Kennewick said.

Most years, the seniors venture past the flagpole deeper into the forest to the Memorial Rock, where the plaques are placed. This year, it was just too muddy.

The school district uses the private forest, located off a winding stretch of Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road, as a center to teach about nature and ecology. Cleveland freshmen visit the forest soon after enrolling, but the Memorial Day ceremony that allows students to mix with alumni is the most meaningful visit of the year.

“My hope is we won’t lose any more Cleveland students to war,” said Alison Sing, a 1964 graduate.

If that happens, he said, at least the Cleveland Memorial Forest is there for them.

Cleveland High School seniors LaSharon Walker, left, and Clara Ulugalu, both 18, raise the flag to start the ceremony Friday at Cleveland Memorial Forest.

View Source: https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=20060527&slug=forest27m