Tree planted in memory of girl |

Tree planted in memory of girl

by Kurt Hildebrand

Friends and parents of Sarah Rovsek gathered on Saturday to plant an oak tree at Douglas High School in her memory. She died April 4 in an all-terrain vehicle accident.

A tree stands at Douglas High School for each of the band students who have died over the past 13 years.

“There are four too many out there,” band director Bill Zabelsky. “This is starting to turn into a grove. I’m hoping it’s not going to be a forest.”

Sarah, a Jacks Valley resident, was 15 years old when she was killed in an accident near Wilson Canyon in Lyon County.

She played the tenor sax in the Douglas High School band, but played clarinet for Pau-Wa-Lu.

“It was real nice,” he said of the ceremony. “Her parents were here with some flowers from the funeral that they made into mulch. They put the mulch in with the tree.”

The tree came from Carson Valley Garden and Ranch Center.

Band members started planting trees after the death of trumpet player John Wendling, who died Feb. 12, 2001. Wendling was killed as the passenger in an airplane crash.

At that time, they planted trees for choral group member Jessica Stewart, who died in an accident with on Pinenut Road in 1993 and Rick Shields, who died in 1991 after his heart gave out while playing basketball.

Each of the students has their own award given out by the band during the year.

The Rick Shields Award is to honor a band athlete and is voted on by the students. Former basketball coach Randy Green presents that award each year.

The Stewart Award recognizes someone in one of the choral groups. The John Wendling award is determined by Zabelsky and the drum major to select the best person who works behind the scenes for the band.

“On the award it says the glue that holds the band together, and that is what John was,” he said.

The award named after Sarah will go to a sophomore in the woodwind section selected by the band director and the drum major.

“The idea is to keep their names alive and their memories intact,” he said.

Donations in memory of Sarah Rovsek may be made at any Bank of America to account No. 004961921224. Proceeds benefit the Douglas High School Fighting Tiger Marching Band.

— Kurt Hildebrand can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 215.