SANTA FE, Texas — Students shoveled the last bit of soil on the first of 10 live oaks to be planted outside Santa Fe High School.

A ceremony Friday came a day before the one-year anniversary of a mass shooting there.

“We have been incredibly resilient and fierce in the midst of grief and anguish and I am proud of how far we have come,” 10th-grade Santa Fe student Jai Gillard said.

Gillard witnessed the shooting inside the school and was in the art classroom where most of the violence occurred.

“We’re like these trees, big and small,” Gillard said. “We withstand the storms and gradually get bigger each day.”

Eventually, 10 oak trees will be planted for eight students and two teachers who died at the school.

Thirteen others will honor those injured.

“This will serve as a place of solitude and reflection,” said principal Rachel Blundell. “Classes will be able to meet out here, enjoy the shade, and remember.” 

Remembrance and resilience were themes during Friday classes.

Recovery will continue to be the focus moving forward.

“Throughout the year, I have been asked 'how are the kids?'” Blundell said. “And my answer is always 'they are driven.' They are driven to recover from this tragedy.”

App users tap here: Santa Fe remembrance events begin

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