A memorial bench at Peninsula High School destroyed by an arsonist was replaced the next day. Photo: Ed Johnson, KP News

Peninsula High School personnel, students and the community at large were shocked by the destruction by arson of a memorial bench honoring former counselor Colleen Blauvelt by a yet-unknown person on Sept. 26.

Jonathan Crane, along with friends and parents from Boy Scout Troop 220, built three benches in 2014 as part of his Eagle Scout project. Crane dedicated the center bench to Blauvelt, who died in May 2013. She was his counselor.

Jonathan’s father, John Crane, said, “When we heard about it, I wanted to replace it, but when I went up to see the damage, the bench was already replaced.”

Peninsula School District replaced the bench the day after the fire.

Blauvelt was a counselor at PHS for 13 years and had been a special-education teacher. She attended Franklin Pierce High School, where a favorite uncle was a counselor, and she followed his example.

After she was diagnosed with cancer, Blauvelt worked until she was physically unable to do any more.

“She was an advocate for her kids,” said PHS Assistant Principal Melissa McNeish. Blauvelt was involved with setting up an advisory program that emphasized assisting all students. Blauvelt’s daughters, now both teachers, were on the PHS swim team and their mom was like an assistant coach, McNeish said.

“The heart of what made my mother a memorable counselor was her passion,” her daughter, Kellie Blauvelt, wrote in an email to KP News. “She had a passion to serve her school and her community, but most importantly she lived to serve her students. When students walked out of her office, they knew she cared about them.”

An investigation is underway by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Anonymous tips may be sent to: www.tpcrimestoppers.com.