Daisy Chain remains enduring graduation tradition at Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Alicia Cochrane, a junior at Medina, helps to assemble the Daisy Chain today. The 54-foot-chain of flowers is a graduation tradition dating back nearly a century in Medina.

Medina students use 90 bushels of daisies, and lots of masking tap to make the chain of flowers.

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – On Thursday they scoured the fields, hunting for daisies. They came back with 90 bushels of them.

The 16 top-ranked girls and top two boys in Medina’s Class of 2014 spent most of this morning and early afternoon assembling a 54-foot-long chain of daisies in what has become an enduring graduation tradition at Medina.

Every year 18 juniors are selected for the task. They will lead the graduates into the auditorium tonight, and will drape the Daisy Chain at the front of the stage. Some of the students in the Daisy Chain this year have parents and grandparents who helped with the project in a previous generation.

“Medina is big on traditions,” said student Emilee Austin while taping rows of flowers to form a section of the chain.

She and 15 other girls will carry the chain while wearing white knee-length dresses and white gloves during graduation tonight. The two boys will wear tuxedos.

Students work together to cut the stems, set the flowers in a row of masking tape and secure it to the chain of flowers. The group includes, from left: Samantha Wendling, Mackenzie Wright and Melanie Schrader. Jenna Brien is in back.

Eighteen students, the 16 top-ranked girls and the top two boys in the Class of 2014, spent two days building the Daisy Chain.

Medina has traced the tradition back to the 1920s at the school.

“To me it symbolizes hard work,” said English teacher Eric Hellwig, the Daisy Chain advisor. “It makes graduation a beautiful event. When the girls walk in with their white dresses and the boys in their tuxedos, it gives it a formal air.”

The 54-foot-long chain used to be longer. But when Medina moved to a new school in 1992, the stage was smaller. The chain used to be 60 feet and was shortened to fit on the new stage.

That’s still a lot of flowers. This year, the daisies are plentiful and plump because of all the rain. Last year they were in short supply, and students had to work hard to find them.

Samantha Wendling is thrilled to help with the project. Her grandmother Shirley Plummer, 81, helped make the Daisy Chain when she was a junior. Another current junior, Jenna Brien, is following family in making the chain. Her mother, Lori Brien, was a daisy.

Medina expects to keep the tradition for years to come.

“As long as people have connections to the community and the past, it will endure,” Hellwig said.

Photo by Tom Rivers