OXFORD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Hana St. Juliana’s dad says he doesn’t want what happened to her and three other students to be forgotten.
Through the Hana St. Juliana Memorial Fund, the community is now coming together to create beauty in their honor at Seymour Lake Township Park in Oxford.
"People should know that Hana is a bright light," said Jennifer Curtis, St. Juliana family friend.
Jennifer Curtis is a family friend who says 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana had a smile that beamed as she made pure memories with her friends and family.
Memories she tries to focus on.
"Popsicle walks on the beach. Looking at greenery and scenery. Playing in the lake and playing on the beach," Curtis remembered.
So to her it makes sense that a garden honoring Hana and the three other Oxford High School students who lost their lives would be at a place where so many families can make such memories, like Seymour Lake Township Park.
"Hana’s brother plays sports here still. It is a community place. It feels good to be here," Curtis said.
"Hana means flower in Japanese. So it is appropriate that we get to talk about and create space for Hana’s garden."
“I am just fortunate that we are able to be part of this and bring the community together,” said Phil Castonia with Oxford Township Parks and Recreation.
Phil Castonia with Oxford Township Parks and Recreation says it is still in the planning phase, but the plan is to build the garden across from a playground, next to the farmers' market site.
The garden will have spaces honoring Hana, Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre and Justin Shilling to commemorate the love they showed love during their lives. Their love, inspiring many to work to make this possible.
"It proves how powerful kids can be at a young age. And what an impact they can have on their friends, their community at such a young age," said Kathy Dickens, Executive Director of the Four County Community Foundation.
"We have a heart to help. We have the capacity to help, but what do we do?"
Kathy Dickens is the Executive Director of the Four County Community Foundation, the organization that administers the Hana St. Juliana Memorial Fund.
The garden is the first project and aims to inspire more in honor of lives lost, but not forgotten.
"To understand their potential is not lost. It continues to resonate throughout the school and throughout the community. We can be inspired by the life they lived and how they impacted everyone," Dickens said.
"We’re looking forward to being able to light things up for Hana."
If you would like to donate to support the Hana St. Juliana Memorial Fund and garden, click this link or by using the QR code attached below.