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Mighty effort keeps Daisy Chain a graduation tradition at Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos from field courtesy of Andrea Lonnen – Brad McPherson, left, and Zachary Harris were out hunting for daisies on Thursday on Blair Road in this field owned by Bill and Sue Keppler.

Hannah Lonnen picks daisies. Hannah and 17 other Medina juniors filled 90 buckets with the flowers to build the Daisy Chain for tonight’s graduation ceremony.

Photos and article by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – When 16 Medina juniors carry a 54-foot-long chain of daisies into Medina High School Auditorium this evening, it will be the continuation of a nearly century-long tradition at Medina.

The Daisy Chain is a chance to honor the top 16 girls in the Junior Class. They are escorted by the top two boys in the class.

They will have spent two full days picking daisies and assembling the long chain that will be placed in front of the stage for graduation.

“Every year people joke you ought to buy plastic daisies,” said Eric Hellwig, a teacher and the advisor on the Daisy Chain’s construction. “It’s nice to have traditions and history.”

Meghan Allen wraps a new row of daisies on the long chain of flowers early this afternoon at Medina High School.

Caitlyn Davies works on the Daisy Chain, which will be carried inside the auditorium this evening in two 27-foot-long chains.

Besides Hellwig, two other teachers, Marguerite Sherman and Kathy Boje, also are advisors on the project, including the dress for graduation. The girls wear white dresses and gloves and the boys will wear tuxedos with red vests.

Hellwig said the attire adds a formal air to commencement.

He said the district can trace the Daisy Chain back until at least the 1920s.

Medina students spent hours assembling the Daisy Chain, spacing flowers about an inch apart in each row.

The flowers are taped and wrapped closely together to build the chain.

Students picked flowers for two to four hours on Thursday, filling 90 buckets at about a bushel apiece.

Meghan Allen admitted it was tedious and tiring work, but she saw symbolism in the that task with doing well in school.

“You have to work hard four your grades and work hard at this,” she said while building the Daisy Chain.

Michaela Cardone was grateful for the chance to work on the Daisy Chain and be part of a a revered Medina tradition. She said the project was good bonding with her classmates.

“Doing this gets more people involved in graduation and it looks nicer,” she said.

Hellwig said the Daisy Chain remains a popular tradition for the school. He expects it will continue to endure.

Michaela Cardone wraps some daisies in the Daisy Chain today. It will be unveiled during graduation at 7 p.m. today.

The Daisy Chain members for 2015 include Zack Harris and Brad McPherson, and the following: Meghan Allen, Alexis Barcena, Allison Bensley,Michaela Cardone, Davina Birch, Haylee Cogovan, Caitlyn Davies, Emma Gardner, Hannah Lonnen, Amanda Lunden, Liz Newman, Stella Russo, Carlin Sanders, Alyssa Shortridge, Abi Smith and Emma Wilson.