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School T Shirt Fundraiser Raises Funds for
Basking Ridge Historic Oak Project

Students at William Annin Middle School sponsored a community fundraiser to celebrate the history of the Basking Ridge Great White Oak. While over 30 tree designs were created by the students, Hannah Shen’s winning design was selected to be made into a t-shirt and sold online raising over $3200. The check was presented to The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, who has been sponsoring the community outreach portion of the Basking Ridge Historic Oak Project.

WAMS Historic Oak Tree Fundraiser
WAMS 6th Grade t shirt desing winner Hannah Shen presents a check for $3277 to
Brooks Betz,  THSSH Trustee for the Historic Oak Tree Project

The online fundraiser brought with it the chance for supporters to write what they felt about the tree. “That beautiful tree was a part of my growing up in Basking Ridge including when I worked at Tree House” noted Debbie Paragone. “I sat many times under its shading branches for a quiet lunch. Truly forever in our hearts!” Cheryl Van Ness wrote, “I grew up in Basking Ridge. I sat under that tree so many times I can't count. I am so happy that we have her baby to plant there. Thank you for handling the tree and its demise with such care and respect.”

While the original goal was to sell fifty items, the program ended up selling over 250 shirts, a 500% increase in the original projection. The Basking Ridge Historic Oak Project needs to raise in excess of $40, 000 to fund all of the efforts to dismantle and preserve the oak for the future, noted Brooks Betz, Trustee at the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills. “This is why we got involved. We believe in this community effort to remember our roots to celebrate the Great White Oak that brought our community together.”

Hannah Shen

Hanna Shen and her Basking Ridge historic oak tree design

Purchases of the clothing came from all over the world including Europe and Australia. Keverne Denahan from California noted,I grew up with that tree. My parents bought a house in Basking Ridge in 1964. I have a postcard of it in a frame out here in California that I have had since I was little. It's iconic. Hannah’s design is gorgeous. Great job. Our tree will be missed.”

For those who missed the last opportunity, there is another campaign opened online where you can purchase commemorative oak tree clothing. Melanie  Dupuis, social studies teacher and tree design organizer from WAMS Middle School reminded us, ”This is a limited edition run and will not be made available to the public in any other way. So don’t miss this once in 600 year opportunity!”

The Basking Ridge Historic Oak Project is a community outreach program founded by THSSH to engage the community to assist the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church as the church deals with the financial burden to dismantle, store, and prepare for the future after the 600 year old oak tree begins the dismantle process starting April 24, 2017. It is estimated that the costs will be in excess of $40,000.

To participate and get a commemorative limited edition shirt you can order below or visit - For additional information on the historic Basking Ridge oak tree, events, history, and to donate, please visit

Submitted: 4/15/2017

About The Brick Academy & The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills

BR_Brick_Academy_Sketch_08_sm.jpgThe Brick Academy (also known as the Basking Ridge Classical Schoolhouse) is a 1809 Federal-style architectural structure located in the center of Basking Ridge in Bernards Township. The Brick Academy has been a boys’ private preparatory school, a public school, a meeting hall for several fraternal and benevolent organizations, and the Bernards Township municipal building. It currently serves as the headquarters of The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, as well as a schoolhouse and museum to local history. The Brick Academy also celebrated its bicentennial in 2009.



the Brick Academy
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