Hana St. Juliana Memorial Garden to open in Oxford in mid-summer

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OXFORD, Mich.—Almost three years ago, four of Oxford High School’s 1,700 students lost their lives in a mass shooting. Hana St. Juliana was one of those students. The Hana St. Juliana Memorial Fund was created in her honor in 2022.

One of the fund’s first projects was to create a symbol that represented Hana. “Hana” means flower in Japanese. Organizers created a logo that blended the Japanese kanji for “hana” and an illustrated flower with five petals that symbolize each member of Hana’s family. Hana’s friends and family say the logo now also symbolizes Hana’s life.

The logo for the Hana St. Juliana Memorial Fund and Memorial Garden uses the Japanese kanji for “hana”, meaning flower, and five petals to represent her family members. Courtesy: Hana St. Juliana Memorial Fund

The money raised by selling apparel with Hana’s logo are now going toward building the Hana St. Juliana Memorial Garden, which will be located next to Seymour Lake Park outdoor market in Oxford.

“I love when I see people wearing her merch because it helps her memory live on, and I think it’s really important for people to not forget her,” said Imani Tenorio-Pindter, one of Hana’s former classmates at Oxford High School.

According to the fund organizers, Hana’s family wanted to create a memorial that would stand in the city forever. A Facebook page for the garden was created for community members to follow along with progress and allow those interested in donating to the foundation to do so. 

“The original plan [for the garden] was a bench and a tree. The first pop-up fundraiser in April 2022 was successful beyond what we could imagine,”  said Jennifer Curtis, a member of the fundraising team and parent of one of Hana’s friends.

Because of the April fundraiser, the organization was able to enlarge the vision of just the simple bench and tree. The St. Julianas met with Chris Nordstrom, a landscape architect-planner with Carlisle Wortman Associates.  

“The goal was to make sure we had something that had the loss of all four kids, make sure that the symbology was not only something that described Hana but something to say that there were four children lost,” Nordstrom stated.

The main objective of all involved with the project is to make a safe space for all four families and other community members to visit and feel comfortable. The budget wasn’t necessarily a consideration at the start, but the architects wanted to create a design that all four families would like.

After the initial design, The Smith Group became involved with refining the overall concept. Some of the features include Michigan native flowers and plants, a water feature, trees and other plant centerpieces.

Excavation for the memorial will begin sometime between April and May, and the project is slated to be completed by mid-summer. The St. Juliana Fund hopes for it to open by July, and they are actively recruiting as many volunteers and donated materials as possible. 

Those interested in following the progress of the project or donating can visit hanamemorialfund.com. Donations for other Oxford High School families can be submitted to 42strongstate.org, GoFundMe, and the Four County Community Foundation.

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