By Chea Waters Evans

Anyone who knew Monica Smith knew that she loved to be around kids, so near the playground at Charlotte Central School is the perfect spot for a memory tree in her honor. The former CCS principal, who spent almost 20 years guiding the youth of Charlotte, passed away earlier this year.

Friends and family gathered to plant an oak tree last Wednesday on the school grounds; Smith’s friend, longtime CCS teacher Rookie Manning, spoke of her love for kids and family. Past colleagues, friends, current administrators, and students—over 50 people—showed up to keep their distance but connect all the same as they celebrated the life and memory of a woman with a big smile and boundless energy who helped several generations of Charlotte kids become the best they could be.

The tree, from Horsford’s nursery, was purchased through donations from colleagues, both retired and still teaching, who were also her friends.

Photos by Rookie Manning