PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When a memorial monument in downtown Providence was vandalized last month, students at one local school decided to take action.
With the help of their teacher, students at A-Venture Academy raised approximately $400 to fix the monument, which is dedicated to nine Rhode Island Marines who were killed in the 1983 Beirut bombings.
Noel Lanfranco tells 12 News he and his classmates sold popcorn and ice pops to fellow students, with all of the proceeds going towards repairing the monument’s shattered glass panes.
“I felt distraught because I respect the military,” Lanfranco said. “If something bad happens in your community, you should definitely respond [in any way] you can.”
The vandalism also upset Lanfranco’s classmate Christine Carter.
“These were people’s family members,” Carter said. “Seeing [the monument] destroyed must have hurt them.”
Elisha Souler said while their fundraising efforts started off slow, it only took them a week or so to raise the money.
“We weren’t very successful the first day, but as we kept doing it, it kept getting better and we kept making more money,” Souler explained.
A-Venture Principal John Gallo tells 12 News he was blown away by the students’ efforts.
“To see these kids jump in like that? It was amazing,” Gallo said. “We only had to ask once, these students knew that I was in the Marine Corps … I must’ve been smiling from ear-to-ear for the past two weeks knowing what these guys did. It was great.”
Their efforts weren’t lost on memorial curator Charles Masteron either.
“The amount of $400, to me, it’s like $4 million,” Masterson said. “Just the fact that the kids did this on their own, I’m completely flabbergasted. It restored my hope in today’s youth.”