OAK HARBOR — An ancient 200-year-old oak tree that once stood tall in front of Oak Harbor Middle School on Church Street, as well as the former Oak Harbor High School, will now be part of the future for the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District.
The tree was damaged by lightning several years ago and needed to be cut down by Miller Tree Service. Ted Foust, who has worked with the district’s summer maintenance crew, took the initiative and contacted King’s Lumber in Wauseon, Ohio to mill the tree into rough cut lumber planks.
The Oak Harbor High School Structural Engineering class with teacher Noah Neiderhouse took a field trip to King’s Lumber in Spring 2019 to learn about the milling process and to witness the milling of the old oak tree.
After the lumber was allowed to cure for two years, its future transitioned into fine woodworking projects. Recently, the district found that it needed a new podium for use at graduation and other special programs.
Jack Harris of the B-C-S Maintenance Department thought that it would be a good idea to use some of the wood from the old oak tree to construct a podium. Harris reached out to Bill Scherf, an Oak Harbor Middle School classroom assistant and woodworking craftsman to turn the wood into a podium for the school district.
The Oak Harbor FFA also voted to work with Scherf to construct a second podium for the annual FFA banquet and other special events. The first podium has been delivered by Scherf and will be used in the 2021 Oak Harbor High School Commencement, the first of many commencements for the old Oak Harbor oak tree.
”It is very special that we are able to honor the past of our school district and re-purpose this old historic tree as a podium for future generations,” said B-C-S Superintendent Guy Parmigian.