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March 28, 2018

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Mission Accomplished: Giant Tree Sculpture Arrives at MRH Middle

Oscar the Oak Tree SculptureUpdate 3/28/18:

The mission to create a lasting memorial to an actual giant red oak tree on the MRH campus is now complete. On March 16, 2018, the metal sculpture which symbolizes a tree named Oscar was installed on the east wall of the middle school commons area.  The tree is stamped with MRH graduating class dates and a heart with an arrow through it.  Surrounding the main sculpture are metal leaves and a Oscar the Oak Tree Sculptureplaque saluting the MRH Vault Club's partnership with Peters-Eichler Mechanical Inc., the firm behind the artwork. 

Oscar is a decades-old oak tree on the north edge of the main MRH campus.  More than just a gathering place and conversation piece, Oscar is used for rope-climbing exercises by middle schoolers throughout the year. 

Previous story from February 2018:

The mission to immortalize MRH's might red oak tree is moving full steam ahead. 

In a project which was launched last Oscar the Oak Tree Sculptureschool year, a local metal engineering company is teaming with Maplewood Richmond Heights 7th and 8th graders to create a lasting tribute to the sprawling oak tree known as Oscar.  Members of the Vault Club, a student group dedicated to preserving the rich history of the school district, are partnering with Peters-Eichler Mechanical Inc. to design and create a steel tree structure which would be affixed to the east wall of the middle school commons.  

This week, students met with the talented metal artisans who will create the sculpture, which they hope will be complete less than two months from now. 

Holding forth for nearly eight decades in the middle of the parking lot on the north edge of the High School/Middle School building, Oscar has served as a stately point of reference at the highest elevation on the main campus.  The story behind its name is in dispute, but the tree's origins are not.  It and another tree were planted by the twin uncles of a current elementary school employee on Arbor Day.  Oscar's companion tree died early.  And experts says Oscar himself is on his last limbs, with less than a decade of life remaining.  

Oscar has even managed to wedge his way into the curriculum.  Middle schoolers use ropes and harnesses to climb the tree as part of their coursework.

Peters-Eichler vice president Jeff Hoevelmann introduced his crew to the students and explained which metals would work best for which portions of the tree sculpture, i.e. the trunk, limbs and leaves. His team also explained how the project will unfold from sketches on pieces of paper, to computer-generated drafts, to the final product being molded on a wide variety of metal-bending heavy machinery.  

Upon completion, the Oscar sculpture will bear the stamp of the class of '17-'18 and is designed to last for many years with minimal maintenance.  It will stretch from floor to ceiling, perhaps 10 feet high, and equally wide. 

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.