WHITTIER — Mulberry Elementary School students and staff have planted a camphor tree in honor of Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer, who was killed in the line of duty in February.
The school also conducted a campus-wide Loose Change drive that raised more than $700.
Mulberry Student Council members, who led the fundraising drive, presented the Boyer family with a check for $500 and used the remaining funds to engrave a commemorative plaque for the tree memorial. The camphor tree was donated by the city of Santa Fe Springs.
“Mulberry students expressed their wish to show their gratitude to the family of Officer Boyer, as well as the entire Whittier Police Department, for their bravery and heroism,” Mulberry acting Principal Michelle Hamilton said. “The kids put everything they had into the Loose Change drive, and their enthusiasm inspired the city of Santa Fe Springs to make a wonderful contribution.”
Mulberry Student Council advisers Sandi Frickle and Lisa Liew coordinated the Loose Change drive, originally intending to raise money for the tree.
“Helping to raise money to honor Officer Boyer was special for me,” Mulberry fourth-grader Amanda Frickle said.
“It taught me to be responsible,” Mulberry Student Council President Sofia Lopez said.
Eric Borunda, an arborist with the city of Santa Fe Springs, whose son Evan is a Mulberry fifth-grader, responded to the Loose Change drive by arranging for the city to donate the camphor tree. That allowed the students to make a contribution directly to the Boyer family.
“I feel really happy that I was able to be a part of the memorial tree planting,” Borunda said.
Whittier police Officer John Scoggins and Capt. Mike Davis attended the ceremony on behalf of the department and Boyer family.
“The East Whittier City community is truly grateful for the services provided by our first responders, and I am so proud of Mulberry students and their families for their generosity and leadership,” said Mary Branca, superintendent of the East Whittier School District.
“The Mulberry camphor tree will provide beauty to the campus, while ensuring that all students will keep Officer Boyer in their memories.”