SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been over three years since a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School claimed the lives of eight students and two teachers and left 13 others injured.
Now the Santa Fe Ten Memorial, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to remember those killed, is getting a seed of hope as a recipient of a "9/11 Survivor Tree Seedling."
The story of the survival tree began in 2001 following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. A Callery pear tree became known as the "Survivor Tree" after enduring the Sept. 11 attacks. The severely damaged tree, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches was discovered at Ground Zero in October 2001, according to the memorial's website.
The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After being nursed back to health, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. Three years later, on Sept. 11, 2013, the Survivor Tree seedling program was launched.
Since then, every year on Sept. 12, the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum selects communities impacted by the violence and disaster to receive a seedling of a Callery pear tree.
According to a release, only 24 communities across the world have been selected to receive a coveted seedling to date.
The Santa Fe Ten Memorial Foundation is one of the three recipients chosen in 2021 for showing resiliency in the face of adversity. In a matter of minutes, Santa Fe experienced a tremendous loss. To this day, citizens carry an immeasurable amount of trauma and grief.
"This gift of nature will stand as a living monument in the Santa Fe Ten Memorial. It will serve as a national landmark of hope and resilience in our community that recognizes the strength of those that lost loved ones, the courage of those who survived, and salutes those who risked their lives to help others," said Megan Grove, Chair of the Santa Fe Ten Memorial Foundation.
In a letter received from Alice M. Greenwald, President and CEO of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the hope is that Santa Fe would "find comfort in this expression of compassion and solidarity from across the country and the world."
Santa Fe High School students will be responsible for caring for the survivor tree seedling. To do so, they will receive mentorship provided by students at John Bowne High School in New York, according to a release.
The Santa Fe Ten Memorial is taking donations, which can be made on its website.