At Danvers High, a new and hopeful day

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DANVERS — With the promise of spring in the air and the school band playing “Shipping Up To Boston” as a tribute to slain teacher Colleen Ritzer, Danvers officially dedicated its new $70 million high school on Saturday.

Hundreds of people, from young parents to senior citizens, turned out to celebrate the completion of an educational dream 15 years in the making.

“It was a long road,” School Committee chairman Eric Crane said in formal remarks. “But the town and its people never lost sight of its commitment to education.”

Pride in the achievement stood in striking contrast to the horror of October, when Danvers High School became the scene of one of the worst acts of school violence in state history.

Ritzer, 24, a popular math teacher, was raped and stabbed to death Oct. 22 in a bathroom at the school, allegedly by Philip D. Chism, then 14, a freshman in her algebra class.

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