Reporting Karen Anderson
LEOMINSTER (CBS) – On Friday morning, officials discovered Leominster’s newly renovated $5 million Doyle Field vandalized. The field, the building, the plaques and signs were all damaged.
It was all done in red paint, right before graduation, with the numbers 2012, 2015, and FHS for rival Fitchburg High School.
Victoria Valeri, a senior at Leominster, came to see it for herself. “I think it’s ridiculous. We spent a lot of money on this field. I don’t think even we would do something that extreme. It’s kind of disappointing.”
It hits hard for Gil Donatelli, who chairs the Doyle Field Commission. He spent years working to raise the funds for the renovation.
As he was surveying the damage, he got a surprise visit from about a dozen Fitchburg High Students. They heard what happened, and wanted to come make a face to face apology.
Liana Boulay says, “We just wanted to see what went on because it’s really embarrassing. It makes Fitchburg High look bad. We’re shocked someone would do something like this right before graduation.”
Abby Locher says it’s sad that a few people are ruining the reputation of her school. “I was shocked and embarrassed that anybody would come here to do that. This is an amazing field; it’s much nicer than ours. We love it here and it’s sad that people come here and vandalize it like this.”
For Donatelli and others in Leominster, those words go a long way.
Donatelli says, “I was touched by the Fitchburg student body, both male and female, coming down here with tears in their eyes that it occurred.”
Valeri has a new view of her old rivals. She says, “It shows they have respect for us and we should have respect for their school too.”
On Friday afternoon, six Fitchburg High School students turned themselves in, admitting to the vandalism. Police say at this point no criminal charges have been filed.