The Pioneer mural in the gym of Lynnfield High School has been painted over. (Spenser Hasak)
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LYNNFIELD — While Lynnfield High School Principal Robert Cleary claims that it was simple maintenance, residents are upset that a mural of a Pioneer logo — the school’s mascot — was painted over on the gymnasium wall as part of a summer renovation project.
With school back in session, residents only recently discovered that the painting of an old Pioneer logo had been removed from the gym. Much of the public outcry has been over the story behind the mural; it was a gift from the Lynnfield High Class of 1979 and had been there since that time.
However, Cleary, who also happens to be a member of the Class of 1979, said the reasons for its removal were perfectly reasonable.
“The logo that was on there was 10 years out of date,” he said. “It’s been updated; we don’t use that logo anymore. Then, the other part of it (is) it’s been 20 years since the gym has been painted so we had the opportunity to paint the gym and it didn’t make any sense to leave an outdated logo that didn’t even have the proper colors on it. I’ve been waiting 20 years to be able to brighten up that gym.”
While Cleary appreciates the sentiment behind the old class gift, he said it was no longer practical to have an outdated logo of the school mascot.
“(We have) since changed our school colors and the actual image of the mascot, so it was pretty outdated. There was no need to keep that there,” said Cleary.
Still, other graduates — both from that time period and newer alumni — were upset to learn that the logo was removed from the wall.
Cooper Marengi, a recent graduate and three-sport high school all-star, is one of them. Marengi, who currently attends and plays football at Endicott College along with his younger brother Clayton who was also a three-sport star at Lynnfield (football, basketball and baseball) and Daily Item Football Offensive Player of the Year his senior year, said that he discovered the logo was gone a few weeks ago while playing basketball in the gym.
“It was just a huge shock to me,” he said.
For Marengi and his family, the logo is a lot more than just an image of the American pioneer, Davy Crockett.
“It’s been everywhere my entire life,” said Marengi. “I think our hockey jerseys might have been the only ones with the Pioneer head on it, but we tried to preserve that head on our jerseys even when we got new jerseys. I really wanted to make sure that we kept that Pioneer head on the new uniforms that we got just because it’s always been such a big center point of our high-school years.”
The love of the Pioneer logo even stands today with current Lynnfield High students. For example, junior football player Robert Marley said that he doesn’t know why the logo is gone but hopes that there will be no changes regarding the school mascot in general.
“I just hope they don’t get rid of it,” he said. “I think it has been a big part of the school for a while.”
Cleary said the newly-blank wall will offer more opportunities to drum up school support among students at events held in the gym.
“The thought was we now have a totally blank, white wall which we can use to project images on during games, pep rallies and other events,” he said. “We still have Lynnfield Pioneers images on the floor and at both ends of the gym so it’s not like we’ve eliminated the logo — far from it.”