Today was an emotional first day back for students and teachers at Cherry Creek Elementary School in Chocolay Township.
Teachers, students and family members of former principal Tamara Bott held a special balloon release ceremony her memory.
Bott passed away in June following a battle with cancer.
School administrators planted a flowering crab apple tree in front of the school to honor and remember their principal.
Mrs. Bott's family including her husband, daughter and mother joined the school during the ceremony and her daughter said a few words to the crowd.
"I just want you all to know that she loved each and every one of you very much" said Alex Bott.
Mrs. Bott's mother, Bobbie Clift, often fills in as a substitute teacher at the school and has a lot of memories of her daughter at work.
She added, "I was reading some of the little notes they wrote on their balloon and they're quite heart-rendering. She loved being a principal and this is great."
Clift says the school originally planned to plant a cherry tree in her daughter's memory, but it was decided that type of tree wouldn't survive the winters. Instead they planted a flowering crab apple tree, not realizing it was the same kind of tree Tamara grew up with in her yard in Lansing.
Each balloon is attached to a card with an email address on it.
If you find one of the balloons, the school asks for you to send a special message to that email address.