MVHS hosts tree dedication to honor former English teacher Stacey Cler

Staff and students come together to commemorate Cler’s lasting impacts

Melody Cui and Gauri Manoj

Athletic trainer Javier Margarito and his daughter pour a cup of water on Cler’s tree before in the nearby Olive Court to enjoy some of Cler’s favorite foods. Photo by Gauri Manoj

In honor of late English teacher Stacey Cler, MVHS staff and students hosted a tree dedication next to the staff parking on Jan. 29, adorning a crepe myrtle tree that was planted as a tribute to her. Before the ceremony began, guests were able to paint rocks, which were later placed around Cler’s tree. Members of the Girls Basketball team also distributed copies of El Estoque’s third issue featuring Cler’s obituary, “Remembering Stacey Cler,” for guests to read. 

At 1 p.m., guests assembled in the Student Union — which was decorated with photos, Cler’s hand knitted scarves and homemade pottery, each with a handwritten label — where teachers and students gave speeches recounting their favorite memories with Cler. Speakers included Nancy Sullivan, Jireh Tanabe, Carl Schmidt and Sara Borelli describing various moments they shared with Cler from when she began working at MVHS in 2000. Former students, juniors Kayla Chang, Tia Kledzik and Nicole Ni, also shared their experiences with Cler and art teacher Jay Shelton performed an adaptation of the old folk song, titled “He Was a Friend of Mine.” 

After everyone presented, the event moved to the parking lot where guests circled around the sapling decorated with a sign that said, “In Loving Memory of Stacey Anne Cler.” After the closing speeches, guests lined up to pour a cup of water on Cler’s tree. The ceremony concluded in the Olive Court, where the Girls Basketball team had set up refreshments including bundt cakes, cupcakes and cookies — Cler’s favorite treat — for guests to enjoy. 

To continue her impact as a Sheltered teacher, a scholarship titled Books are Life was established under Cler’s name to fund and promote postsecondary education for English Learners. To contribute to the scholarship, checks can be made to “Monta Vista High School ASB” with “Books are Life” on the memo.

English teacher Sara Borelli, one of the organizers of the event, shares that she’s grateful for the immense support from all the students and staff members who helped plan the ceremony. With around 100 people attending the dedication, Borelli’s favorite moment was seeing how much love and appreciation the MVHS community had for Cler. 

“It was emotional, but I think it went well,” Borelli said. “I think everybody was appreciative to have the time to say goodbye to her and to remember her. [I want Ms. Cler to be remembered] as someone who worked very hard and loved her students very much and put everybody before herself.”