Lussier brings 'Home Improvement' to Lyman
Lebanon - Tori Lussier's senior project at Lyman Memorial High School was wrapped up months ago.
She conceived the idea for a new softball field complete with specialized dugouts. She got approval from the Board of Education, visited the building inspector, raised approximately $35,000 in materials and kept a list of about 25 volunteers.
Lussier, 18, even mixed the cement herself, working along with her dad, William, during August to complete the project.
"I wasn't around then," Lyman softball coach Gary Hoyt said. "I didn't really appreciate how much work she did until I saw her presentation. She's been here for four years. She wanted to leave her mark and she has."
On April 5, however, the Bulldogs finally had their first game day on the new field since it was built, facing Waterford.
Lussier, Lyman's catcher, was in her usual spot behind home plate, but her surroundings were different.
There were no puddles on the infield, no "lakes," as Hoyt called them. The area behind home plate, formerly grass, was now dirt.
The dugouts, which didn't exist before Lussier's vision, featured benches up closer to the fences so the players were closer to the game. Meanwhile, the back walls of the dugouts were lined with hooks, made to support the teams' bat bags.
Senior projects are mandatory at Lyman and must include an oral presentation, including some technological aspect, as well as a written paper reflecting on the process.
The projects vary in their degree of difficulty, but some, such as that of Lussier's teammate Emily Vigue, who organized a "Dig Pink" event for the volleyball team complete with pink uniforms she acquired through donations, have been ambitious, inspiring even.
"I had the idea. I brought it up with our AD (Scott Elliott)," Lussier said following the game against Waterford. "I had to ask sponsors, get donations from companies. My dad's actually a mason. He supported me really well. Me and my dad were up here every day for hours and hours. I got to pour concrete, a lot of labor stuff. I left my hand print in some cement.
"I liked coming up here every day. ... Me and my dad are pretty close. I used to work with him on side jobs a lot."
Lussier's father runs W. Lussier Masonry and Woodchipping. Along with his own expertise, he got help from a friend who owns a landscaping business to oversee the actual field renovation. As part of her project, Lussier will hold a ceremony at a Lyman game in the near future to recognize everyone who assisted her in the project.
Lussier, who lives in Franklin, is an ECC Small Division all-star who has helped the Bulldogs to two league titles in her three seasons so far. She hopes to play softball in college, but isn't sure where. She has yet to receive a grade on her senior project.
"(My friends) saw it on the first day of school. That's when everybody saw it," Lussier said. "The existing field was bad. Whenever it rained, we used to have a huge puddle at third. ... I was extremely happy afterward. I'm extremely proud."
"It's fantastic. Not a puddle anywhere," Hoyt said, before adding with a laugh, "I can't wait 'til it rains."
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