It has been nearly a year since students at Mark Twain lost a classmate in a fatal car accident, but their friend remains in their memory.

It has been nearly a year since students at Mark Twain lost a classmate in a fatal car accident, but their friend remains in their memory.

Tucker Northeimer, who was killed in a car accident Dec. 5, 2012, was a good friend. He loved the color pink and sunflowers.

He won't grow with his classmates, who are now first-graders, but they planted a garden in his honor, which they will tend until they graduate from the elementary school.

They dedicated the garden, with the help of Tucker's family, Nov. 22.

"A lot of people in this class remember him and remember all of the wonderful things about him," said student teacher Jessica Irwin, who led the project. "He is a part of this first-grade community that's sadly missing."

A senior at Otterbein University, Irwin had to put together a service project for students as one of her student-teaching requirements.

Early this school year, she worked with first-grade teachers Barb Baldrick, Carol Louden, Koleen Foley and Jude Strain, and the idea for a "friendship garden" in Tucker's memory was created.

Irwin said she worked with the students to discuss friendship and what makes a good friend. Tucker's friends shared their memories of him, she said.

With a donation from Oakland Nursery, the students planted 200 flower bulbs that will bloom in the spring, and installed metal sunflowers where real sunflowers will stand when the weather warms.

"There will be one portion of the garden that will be surrounded by pink tulips in the spring," Irwin said. "It's going to be amazing in the spring when it blooms."

A granite bench was installed, and in art class, the students painted 15 stepping stones for the garden.

One of the most crucial elements of the garden, Irwin said, is that Tucker's classmates will be responsible for its care until they move on to middle school.

"They're the ones who will be caring for this garden over the next four years," Irwin said. "I think that's a really special element to this garden -- that they're going to carry Tucker with them through their years at Mark Twain, as they progress from grade to grade."