LAKEWOOD – With a recommendation from the Lakewood Shade Tree Commission, the Lakewood Township Committee designated a red oak tree at the Ella G. Clarke School, Manetta Avenue, Lakewood, a historical landmark. Using a tree friendly formula, students at the Clarke School estimated the tree to be 201 years old, older than the township which was established in 1892. Having historical designation means this tree will be protected by the Township for all times.
The Shade Tree Commission members include Zev Stern, chairman of the Lakewood Shade Tree Commission; Craig J. Theibault, vice chairman; Tzvi Gordon, Raphael Miller, Moshe Raitzik, and Mary Kay Malec, secretary. Members hold Arbor Day celebrations the last Friday in April each year and have planted hundreds of trees throughout the town. Lakewood has been awarded “Tree City USA” for the past 35 years for its outstanding urban forestry.
About The Ella G. Clarke School and Ella G. Clarke (Born December 7, 1885; Died June 21, 1969)
The Ella G. Clarke School (CAGS), built in 1946, is named for Mrs. Ella Gray (Frake) Clarke even though she was never principal there; she was the principal of School No. 5, which was built in 1901 and burned to the ground in 1945.
Ella G. Clarke was very strict and rigorous about her weekly fire drills. She is credited with safely evacuating all students and teachers from the building after a fire reportedly broke out in the auditorium stage area and quickly spread, consuming the school. According to records found, the school burned to the ground in less than 15 minutes! All students, however, returned home safe and sound.
Although construction on the Ella G. Clarke School began in 1946, students did not officially enter the building until 1949. Students in grades 1-5 attended half-day sessions at CAGS and students in grades 6-7 went full-day sessions at the YMCA.
Research compiled by Tara Napolitano