LAKEWOOD – On the recommendation of the Lakewood Shade Tree Commission, the Lakewood Township Committee has designated a red oak tree at Ella G. Clarke School on Manetta Avenue, Lakewood, as a historic monument. Using a tree-friendly formula, students at Clarke School estimated the tree to be 201 years old, older than the township that was established in 1892. Its historic designation means that this tree will be protected by the township for always.
Members of the Shade Tree Commission include Zev Stern, Chair of the Lakewood Shade Tree Commission; Craig J. Theibault, vice-president; Tzvi Gordon, Raphael Miller, Moshe Raitzik and Mary Kay Malec, secretary. Members hold annual Arbor Day celebrations on the last Friday in April and have planted hundreds of trees across town. Lakewood has received the Tree City USA award for the past 35 years for outstanding urban forestry.
About 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, bears the name of Mrs. Ella Gray (Frake) Clarke although she was never principal there; she was the principal of School No.5, which was built in 1901 and burned down in 1945.
Ella G. Clarke was very strict and rigorous about her weekly fire drills. He is credited with the safe evacuation of all students and teachers from the building after a fire allegedly broke out in the auditorium stage area and quickly spread, consuming the school. According to the archives found, the school burned down in less than 15 minutes! However, all of the students returned home safe and sound.
Although construction of Ella G. Clarke School began in 1946, students did not officially enter the building until 1949. Students in Grades 1 through 5 attended half-hour sessions. -day at CAGS and students in grades 6-7 attended full-day sessions at school. YMCA.
Research compiled by Tara Napolitano