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Principal’s premonition doesn’t prevent vandalism

Saugus High hit before big game with Valencia

Posted: November 7, 2008 2:46 p.m.
Updated: November 7, 2008 2:55 p.m.

A sign near Saugus High School was vandalized the night before a big football game with rival Valencia High School.

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Saugus High School Principal Bill Bolde woke up at 3 a.m. Friday due to a bad dream in which his beloved school campus was being attacked by vandals, he said.

So he got up, went to the school and camped out in the security office until sunrise.

"I left here at 6:15 this morning and I thought everything was fine," Bolde said. "I didn't see anything, maybe because (the vandals) focused on the upper campus."

Saugus students arriving on campus Friday were greeted by obscenities painted on buildings and windows, posters with negative messages about top Saugus football players and a giant, purple "V" painted on the hillside by the school where the blue "S," removed for repairs, usually stands guard over the school.

"There was profanity painted on the windows and the trees were (toilet papered)," said Saugus junior Jessica Rand. "There were posters everywhere with the names of some of our main players like (Ryan) Zirbel."

Some of the graffiti painted on Saugus campus buildings read "V-House" and "Viking Territory."

The Saugus Centurions were preparing for their football game against rival Valencia High School Friday.

Both teams are undefeated in league play and are vying for the Foothill League title.

Saugus quarterback Desi Rodriguez wasn't sure what to think about the vandalism, saying it was unfortunate.

"It's a blow, because this is my school," Rodriguez said. "But we're just going to speak out with our actions on the field tonight."

Valencia High School Principal Paul Priesz reported no vandalism on Friday, but said his campus was vandalized before they played Hart High Oct. 31 and in 2007 when they played Saugus.

"We don't like any vandalism that occurs, but it occasionally does with games like this," Priesz said. "We certainly wish it hadn't happened, that's for sure. We talk about it with students all the time."

Saugus administrators anticipated something might happen before the game and tried to be proactive.

Flood lights were added to the existing lighting in the campus quad area where the bronze statue of a centurion resides and the school's Legacy Wall makes up one side.

"We really thought they were going to target the statue and the Legacy Wall," Bolde said. The security office, where Bolde kept watch early Friday morning, overlooks the campus quad.

As Bolde toured the defaced campus - most of which had already been cleaned up - Friday, he was surprised to spy several unknown Saugus students up on the hillside above campus, working diligently to turn the purple "V" back into a blue "S."

"They've got an ‘S' going in up there - that's just school pride," Bolde said. "I don't know who those students are, but that's great. They're trying to right a wrong."

Bolde briefly returned to administrator mode, wondering whether the students should perhaps be in class, but decided to let them continue their work.

"Someone has decided to restore the pride on a day when we have been attacked," he said. "I can turn my head on that one."

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