Sippican School remembers lives lost

Jun 14, 2023

MARION — The shade once provided by the 100-year-old Norway Spruce tree in the Sippican School Memorial Garden has been replaced with sunlight. 

Sippican School staff and students held a rededication ceremony  in  memory of students Cory Jackson, Alexis Wisner, Andrew Rego and Marques Sylvia and former Sippican School principal Mary Lou Hobson on Wednesday, June 14.

The tree that was once the focal point of the memorial garden before it was cut down in January has now evolved into a stump surrounded by painted rocks and plants.

“The rings of the tree represent the circle of life,” said landscaper Steve Gonsalves.

Students shared memories and laid sunflowers on the tree stump during the parade of flowers.

According to Sippican School principal Marla Sirois, Gonsalves worked with Marion Parks and Tree Committee members Margie Baldwin and Susannah Davis to create a new design for the memorial garden.

“We want this tree to … become a classroom for the children and a safe place,” said  Gonsalves. 

Sirois said that the garden will serve as a place to “share grief and heal.”

Four benches dedicated to the students surround the tree stump to offer a place “for reflection.”

“The garden is planted as a tribute to the lives that were lost,” she said. 

Sippican School staff and family of the students shared their memories of the four children. 

Corey Jackson, died of an illness “always had a smile on his face,” said former  Sippican School nurse Maureen Lamoreaux.

Jean DaSilva remembered her son, Marques Silva who died in a car accident as  “wonderful” and having an abundance of friends.

Sippican School Music teacher Hannah Moore shared her memories of young musician Andrew Rego who died in a skiing accident.

“He was a drummer, and that really describes somebody,” said Moore. “[Drummers] are high energy and they have a lot that they want to do.”

Ronald Wisner recalled a special moment with his daughter, Alexis Wisner, who died of cancer. Wisner asked Alex what she thought “life was about” only to have her respond, “to do lots of stuff.”

Wisner said that having his daughter’s life remembered by the people of Marion is “one of the benefits of living in a small community.”

“I am not sure this would have happened in any other town,” he said.