65ºF

Ceremony honors Episcopal's great oak

photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It is the last goodbyes for an icon at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.

The more than 400-year-old massive live oak tree at the center of the school's campus will be coming down over the Christmas break.

School officials said arborists did extensive studies and found the tree has a fatal disease and is decaying, making it not safe for students to be under.

The tree became a memorial for Dale Regan, a longtime educator and head of the school who was shot and killed in 2012 by a teacher who had just been fire. The community raised $300,000 and put a 12,700-square-foot deck around the tree's base.

On Friday, the student body and teachers held a ceremony to honor the ancient oak. Officials said it was an emotional day.

The school will also hold a ceremony for alumni over the weekend to say goodbye to the tree.

A new oak tree will be its replacement.