Posted by Ellen Kraska on 3/18/2018




A drizzly Irish day was the perfect backdrop for a gathering of sister cities, friendship trees, and curious Laurel students as a new tree was planted at the Upper Campus last week. We hosted Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki and Galway, Ireland Mayor Pearce Flannery for a sister city event.

Menlo Park and Galway, Ireland have been connected as sister cities since the 1960s and a similar planting ceremony with the Menlo Park mayor, Irish dignitaries, and school children took place at this school site in 1963! Our new tree (a Sawleaf Zelkova) is fittingly planted under the canopy of an elm - the gift tree from a Galway school 55 years ago!
During the ceremony, Galway Mayor Pearce Flannery wore a traditional chain of office and explained that some of the gold in its insignia dates from 1485! A piece of gold has been added for every mayor since then. The students were very impressed! Mayor Flannery visited classrooms at the Upper Campus and invited everyone to travel to our sister city in Galway, Ireland. As a surprise, he invoked an Irish tradition of requesting a no homework night whenever a dignitary visits a school. Luckily, Principal Creighton agreed and all the students cheered as she shared the news! It was a lovely visit and a wonderful celebration of friendship!

All the best to you and yours,