Jordan Rankin's life ended far too soon, but a living memorial to her will continue growing for a century or more.

The city remembered Jordan, one of its most cherished student-athletes, when a tree was planted in her honor last week near the running track at Haverhill High School.

A Haverhill High School senior and lifelong city resident, Jordan, 17, died Sept. 25, 2018, from injuries she suffered in a car crash.

Members of the Haverhill High School community gathered on Wednesday of last week for the tree-planting ceremony at the edge of the sports field behind the school. Joining them were Mayor James Fiorentini and members of the Police Department and School Committee.

The Department of Public Works provided a 6-foot-tall bald cypress tree, which can grow to 60 feet tall and live more than 100 years.

Before the ceremony, Jordan’s father, John Rankin, said the location was a fitting one to place a memorial to his daughter, who played various sports on the high school fields.

"We're very happy and appreciative to know everyone has us in their thoughts," he said.

Jordan attended Sacred Hearts School in Bradford before entering Haverhill High, where she played lacrosse, soccer, field hockey and track.

She worked at Market Basket in the Westgate Plaza in Haverhill, in addition to her many other activities.

In the Sept. 24, 2018, crash, police said Owen Foote, 20, of Methuen was driving more than double the speed limit in a 2017 Chevy Silverado pickup truck and blew through the stop sign at the intersection of Liberty and Crystal streets, striking Jordan’s 2005 Chevy Malibu, which had the right of way.

She was heading home after playing in a field hockey game at Trinity Stadium.

Members of the Rankin family attending last week's ceremony included Jordan's mother, Cindy Rankin, and Jordan's older brother Johnny and older sister Julia.

Also present were John Rankin's sisters, Deb Bubar, Kathy Thorlton and Jane Johansen, along with her husband, Paul. Also attending were Cindy Rankin's sister Dianne Boebel and her husband, Ted, along with their daughters Marina and Elliana.

Julia Rankin told the crowd that the 13 months since Jordan's death have been difficult for her family, but that kind gestures from students, sports teams, high school staff and the mayor have made things a little easier.

"To see how everyone reaches out ... to keep her memory alive makes me speechless," Julia said. "We're extremely appreciative of everything and adore the way everyone keeps her memory alive. Jordan may be gone, but she will never be forgotten."

"When you plant a tree,'' Fiorentini told the crowd, "you plant hope."

 

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