(Credit: Gardeners.org, Adam Richins Photography)
Every October, our school community comes together to plant daffodils in honor of Dary Jacob ‘05. For a short period on that one day, students each get a bulb and plant it around the school grounds while remembering a beloved member of the Montrose community. This tradition takes a special place in many Montrosian’s hearts. Catherine Bettinelli ‘21, a senior who has been participating in Daffodils for Dary for the past seven years, shared her favorite memory while planting daffodils: “Last year, Dary’s dad — Mr. Neil Jacob, the longest-serving Montrose Board Board of Trustee Chairman and a current Trustee — came out and picked up a shovel and planted a few flowers with us by the Miracle Field sign,” she said. “He planted flowers next to us and told us how much it means to his his wife — former Montrose staff member Mrs. Laurie Jacob — and their family and how much Dary loved nature and would love what we were doing.” After the winter months, the daffodils bloom in April and convey a special reminder of the values Dary placed on the beauty of nature and art during her time at Montrose and after, although her life was cut short at a young age.
Dary was a vivacious student in the halls of Montrose. She had a great love of the outdoors and of nature itself, constantly immersing herself in it. Dary was described as always enjoying the moment, leading her life with this mindset in order to make the very most of every day. She was always empathetic to her fellow classmates, making her presence both known and wanted as she gave herself to any that needed her. “Joyful” is an understatement when it came to describing Dary. Associate Head of School Mrs. Elrod added: “Dary was an incredibly peaceful and joyful person. She knew how to enjoy the most important things in life: people and nature and God.” In her illness during her senior year at Montrose, these traits were not diminished in any way. She battled through with no complaints and a bright smile on her face. Her strong faith was unwavering in the process, and she found peace with God as she bore the burdens of her illness towards the end of her all too young life.
After her passing the spring of 2006, Dary’s memory has been maintained throughout the Montrose community and is still a vital part of our school today. Dary’s love for the outdoors and her artistic side is the foundation for the Arts & Environment (A&E) Lab at Montrose, devoted to both scientific and artistic studies. We can use this constant reminder of Dary throughout the school day to replicate what she modeled: joy, peace, gratitude, and service to others.
Because of Covid-19 safety protocols, this year students will each take a daffodil bulb and plant it in her yard at home. Though our tradition of Daffodils for Dary may look different this year, planting those bulbs in order to see their blossoming in the spring can serve as a reminder to model Dary’s joy, love, and faith in our own lives. We can all attempt to imitate her example and find that joy in every small part of each day. As we plant the daffodils in our own yards this year, let us try to live out the values given to us by Dary this school year and beyond.
Anna Rose ‘22, Staff Writer