William Patrick Memorial Tree

Just over a year ago we lost William. William was a very polite and well-mannered student, with an excellent attendance record. He was one of our most able students and made a positive contribution to all his lessons. He had a passion for learning, was supportive of his peers and happy to share his success in order to help others learn. All William’s teachers enjoyed having him in their class, as he was a pleasure to teach. He was a lovely lad and he touched the lives of everyone who met him. We miss him still.

When we asked the family to nominate a plant of significance for us to plant as a memorial to William the first suggestion was alarming – it was a Venus Flytrap! However, the fact that it would not cope with the conditions here in Oasis meant that the plant chosen was one that meant a great deal to William – the Lebanese Cedar tree – and staff and students gathered in The Oasis Memorial Garden on Friday December 1st to plant one as a tribute to William and to celebrate his life and to mark out a place where we can come to remember him and to think about him.

The cedar tree has been revered for its spiritual significance for thousands of years. Its wood was used for the doors of sacred temples and burned in cleansing ceremonies for purification. The tree was thought to house important gods and to be an entrance to higher spiritual realms. In Lebanon, cedar trees were used to make ships in ancient times and they enabled the Phoenicians to build up a great trading empire and even today, in modern day Lebanon, the cedar tree is associated with strength and longevity. The planting of a Lebanese cedar tree then is so very appropriate as it makes us think about the strength of William’s character and the lasting legacy that he has left on his friends, on his teachers and on his family. Classical writers in both Greece and Rome have used the tree as a sign of eternity and this tree will mean that William’s memory will live on in this college whether it be for the students who sit on his memorial bench or those who receive an annual award that we have created in his memory – The William Patrick Award for Character and Achievement.

William loved this college and was loved by this college so he will never leave us as he took part of us with him and left a part of himself here.

Ray Henshaw