Students and parents at Christian Central Academy presented teacher Sharon Backus with an end-of-the-school-year gift that will last a lifetime.
Saturday, Backus, pictured, was honored with a 10-foot crimson maple tree, planted on the same trail in Buckhorn Island State Park where she leads her first grade school children on nature walks every year.
"This is really something," she said as volunteers dug, planted, watered and prayed around the tree, which stands out among the greenery. She called the gift to her a "total surprise. Just to think they're spending part of their first day of summer vacation here is something else."
Backus is the wife of the Rev. Kevin Backus of Bible Presbyterian Church on Love Road. She taught at Grand Island Christian before going to CCA in 1992.
A plaque from her first-graders at the tree reads: "A seed is planted, roots grow deep; children grow stronger week by week. Thank you, Mrs. Backus for helping us grow. God's love, through us, will surely show."