SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 15, 2014

New life for memorials

Walkway at BHS will display plaques

BEVERLY — The new Beverly High School opened in 2010, and the old school was demolished in 2011. But three years later, one aspect of the project remains incomplete.

A dozen memorial plaques and stone monuments dedicated to former students, teachers, administrators and military veterans that were on display at the former high school are still in storage, waiting for the day when they will be shown again.

School officials say that day is about to arrive. The School Committee this week approved a plan by Beverly High Principal Sean Gallagher to create a memorial walkway alongside the playing fields outside the high school.

The walkway will include new granite benches, a flagpole, and restored plaques and memorials honoring people who Gallagher said represent “the foundation and the soul of Beverly High School.”

“We’re bringing the memorials back, and we’re going to do it the right way,” he said.

Gallagher said dozens of plaques and memorials were scattered throughout the old high school, both inside and outside. He said 80 percent of them were accounted for and placed in storage, but the rest were lost or destroyed during the demolition.

Gallagher said some of the plaques had apparently been covered up by grass over the years. When school officials found out they had been inadvertently destroyed, he and Assistant Principal Dan Bauer scoured the rubble looking for them.

“We felt so bad,” Gallagher said.

Among the lost memorials was one in honor of Steven Kerr, a popular student-athlete at Beverly High who died in a car accident in 1989. A memorial tree and plaque were dedicated to Kerr in a ceremony in the spring of 1990 near the front entrance of the school.

Cindy Kerr DiLuiso said she was upset when she first noticed that her brother’s memorial had been destroyed. When she contacted Gallagher, he promised he would not forget about Kerr.

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