Vandal chops down courtyard tree



By Spencer Hurbis | Opinion Editor 

After over a decade of standing tall, proud and alone, Marshfield High School’s Norwegian
Maple tree, planted by the class of 2000, is nothing more than a stump. On Oct.
31, the tree was sawed down in the middle of the night and was found lying on
its side early that morning by staff members.

Rumors circulating around the schoolhave been calling the incident a senior prank or a joke made by students from another high school. Marshfield Athletic Director Bryan Trendell said it is to be an act of vandalism and not just a prank.

“Senior pranks are never harmful and this is a much more serious offense,” Trendell said. “The police have been involved, and the culprits could be facing some jail time as well as other prosecutions from the school.”

According to Trendell, surveillance cameras were unable to catch footage of the offenders in action. The tree was out of the line of sight for both with dark lighting, but video feed of the Pirate Hall parking lot is being analyzed and will hopefully reveal some information.

Marshfield Resource Officer Mark Wheeling is in charge of the investigation. He said a few people have come forward with some names, but the investigation is still pending.

“Since the school wants to press charges against whoever did this, I took an official police report and started an investigation and am working towards finding the offenders,” Wheeling said.

When Pirate Hall was built, the class of 2000 researched and purchased the tree for the school to represent the learning and development in Marshfield students. The class chose it as their project and brought the tree down from Portland to be planted at school.

Marshfield Principal Greg Mulkey said the tree is an important and meaningful part of MHS.

“It affects so many people, not only the class of 2000 but the members of the community who helped bring it here,” Mulkey said. “It was a very special little tree on our campus.”

Whether cutting down the tree was meant to be a senior prank, a joke, or trick, the administration and the police are treating it as a crime and said it is to be taken seriously.

“I will prosecute these people 100
percent within the limits of the law,” Mulkey said. “I’m appalled that someone
would do something like this, but we will find the perpetrators and bring them
to justice.”