74-75 1974-1975 The 1974-1975 school years held many promises for the students and staff. For one, the school would finally have a senior class to call its own. The seniors were the very first to graduate from a brand new school, and they were the very first to graduate from the new high-school. The school also got the first group of students that attended Perry for all four years of high school. The freshmen were the first group to attend the high school, and they would later be the first graduating class to attend the school for all four years. When asked how it felt to be in the first graduating class to attend Perry for all four years, Mr. Kevin Albright responded, “I was glad to be a part of the first graduating class to attend for four straight years; I was glad to be a part of Perry” (Albright Personal Interview). With the seniors finally at Perry, but with no returning alumni to “come home”, Perry had its final Forthcoming. On October 18th, 1974, eager Falcons watched as the football team took on Lebanon. Perry won a 21-7 game, and a half time show featured the marching band and Falcon Brigade with the theme “Make Your Own Kind Music.” Tammy Smith was endowed with the crown of Forthcoming queen of 1974. After the game, Malachi entertained the dancing Falcons in the after-dance of Forthcoming. The parade boasted floats and a judging of clubs and activities. Falcon Brigade won the float contest (Hume 1). With the seniors to graduate later that year, the students waved farewell to their final Forthcoming. The 1974-1975 school year brought the first senior class officers for the school. Ann Hettle was elected secretary of treasure. Dave Hagar was vice-president for the first senior class. Bob Willsey had the honor of being the very first senior class president in the history of Perry (Passages II 146). These lucky seniors were the very first senior officers in the history of the new high school. With the addition of a senior class, Perry performed much better than its previous year. Football unfortunately didn’t win the Marion County Championship, but did quite well with an eight and two season. Reserve had a seven and two season while the freshman team had a 3-2-3 season (Passages II 90-100). The varsity team ended on a strong note defeating Madison Heights in a later game, and Franklin for the final game (Theil 4). Tennis had a strong 12-4 season, ending 13th in the state and 5th in sectionals. Track had a perfect 6-0, season coming in 3rd at sectionals. The wrestling team had a 10-3-1 season ending 3rd in the county (Passages II 99). Perry Meridian High School had a good athletic season before, but with the new seniors came a much better season for all sports. Mark Lewis was the very first valedictorian of Perry Meridian High School. Many intelligent students walked away with scholarships and awards. Jane Judkins was awarded a scholarship for having the highest ranked GPA for girls, and Mark Lewis won the scholarship for having the highest ranked GPA for boys. Melodie Williams was awarded with the vocational scholarship. The most athletic girl and boy awards were given to Beth Bennedte and Rheth Campbell. The National Merit Scholars were Jerry Andrews, Nancy Crocker, Donna Jennings, Jane Judkins, Elizabeth Mannix, Karen McHeen, Joseph Overhage, Norman “Clay” Robbins, and Jay Yeager. The “Most Outstanding Student” awards for different classes were also given: English: Karen McHeen; home economics; Jill Hueber; industrial arts; John Corbin; language; Linda Johnson; math; Manfred Muller; music; Debra Humes; P.E. Robin Nickleoff; science and social studies; Jay Yeager; business; Sharon Daniels; Art; Bill Stumpf (Head, Commencement Speech). Many intelligent students have graced the building of Perry Meridian High School from the first year to the most recent. On August 8th, Richard Nixon resigned from his presidency due to the Watergate scandal. On August 9th, Gerald R. Ford became the 38th president of the U.S.A (Bondi 223). Stop Eleven didn’t always run all the way to U.S. 31. During the opening years of Perry Meridian High School it only ran to Meridian Road. Soon construction was underway, and Stop Eleven was completed to what it is today (Felix Personal Interview). On April 3rd, 1974, 20 tornados hit the south-central area of Indiana. Forty-nine lives were lost, 768 were injured, and damage was done to over 39 counties in Indiana’s worst outbreak of tornados ever recorded (Curtis ). On September 5th, 1974, Perry Township schools began the free lunch program for students in underfunded families and families who couldn’t afford for their children to buy the school’s lunch (“Perry Township Free Lunch Program” 1). Mini-skirts, long, straight hair; bell-bottoms, muscle shirts, plaid suits and dresses, punk-rock, and marijuana can all be used to describe the 1974-1975 school year. “It was just a crazy time to be alive, and nobody wore straight legged pants,” Mr. Kevin Albright confessed (Albright Personal Interview). Many teachers found the mini-skirts and the smell of marijuana emulating from the bathroom distracting. Teachers had a set dress code in 1974. “Suits for men, and dresses for women,” Mrs. Felix recalled (Felix Personal Interview). The trends of the 1974-1975 school years were certainly ones for the ages. The first semester drew to a close, and the students left for winter break. The first half of the year was over, but many felt that the second half would bring even more stories. Perry Meridian High School’s second year started well and would finish just as well. During the second semester of Perry’s second school year, the athletic teams reached new heights. The boys’ cross country team had a 6-0 record. They finished the season undefeated in dual meets. They boys swimming team had a five meet winning streak. On February 15, they placed third in the sectionals and defeated Southport by a half of a point. All of these teams did outstanding jobs, but the basketball team surpassed all expectations (Passages II 96-101). The 1974-1975 the male varsity basketball team made it all the way to the IHSAA Sectional Championship game. Unfortunately, the Falcons lost to Wood, but their fans continued to be supportive. Ken Montgomery believes that the skillful basketball team put the previously unknown Perry on the map. It was very satisfying for the new high school to beat the well-known Southport (Montgomery Personal Interview). Later, Ken Montgomery and Kevin Rostenkowski were named to the All-Sectional team (Passages II 106-107). Perry wasn’t only gifted in athletics; the arts program was exceptional as well. On February 20 and 21, 1975, Perry put on “The Wizard of Oz,” and it was very hard work. Many special effects were used to create cyclones, a snowstorm, a moving bridge, magical mirrors, and disappearing, shrinking, and flying witches. The scenery consisted of five sets, and the cast included sixty-three students. Leesa Wilson played Dorothy, Jerry Sizemore played the scarecrow, Kyle Bradford played the tin man, and John Gilbert played the cowardly lion (“PMHS Musical Feb. 20-21 Has Many Special Effects” 1). While Perry Meridian was rehearsing for the musical, on January 22, “Right-to-Life” groups staged demonstrations all over the country marking the second anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision declaring abortions legal for women. Pro-abortion groups staged counterdemonstrations celebrating the decision. Feelings all across the country were mixed as anti-abortion groups gathered before the Federal Building in the city, while in New Orleans, fourteen feminist and civil right groups signed a statement supporting freedom of choice (“Pro, Anti Marchers Mark Abortion Decision” 6 Microfiche). Although the spring play didn’t make an impact on the country, “Don’t Drink the Water” made a comedic impact on the lives of Perry Meridian students. The play was written by Woody Allen, and it was presented in the Perry Meridian High School auditorium on April 25 and 26 (“Perry Meridian Offers Woody Allen Comedy” 1). A few weeks later, on May 17, the very first senior prom had arrived. The 1975 prom theme was “Stairway to Heaven,” based on the hit song by Led Zepplin. Led Zepplin reached its absolute height of popularity in March of 1975, and all six of their LPs placed on the Billboard charts. During Gerald Ford’s presidential campaign, his daughter, Susan, stated that Led Zepplin was her favorite band. When Jimmy Carter was addressing the National Association of Record Manufacturers, he recalled listening to Zepplin music during sessions at the governor’s mansion in Georgia (Stewart 82-82). The prom King was John Boeke, and the Queen was Heidi Mills. The front foyer was used for the prom’s activities for the first time (Passages III 26-27). The last major event before the end of the school year was the Mini-Olympics. The games were organized by the senior class headed by Bob Wilsey and Sherry Bilbrey. The S.W.A.T. Forces was the winning team. They received a large team trophy in addition to individual trophies (Passages III 28-29). Just before graduation, a senior girl from Mr. Moulton’s sociology class came to his house and cried in his living room; she begged him not to fail her. After he had described this experience, Mr. Moulton said, “Students had a bigger fear of failure in the seventies than they do today.” In the seventies, students treated their teachers with respect, and they cared more about their grades. All of these aspects led to a higher graduation rate (Moulton Personal Interview). Finally, the eventful school year had come to an end. Four hundred and ninety-eight students graduated on May 24, 1975 (Passages III 30-31). Jane (Raker) Kyle was one of these graduates, and she proclaimed that her senior class was the first graduating class at Perry Meridian. Although Jane was separated from some of her friends at Southport, she felt like her class was the senior class for two years in a row, and she really enjoyed it (Kyle (Raker) Personal Interview). During the graduation ceremony, Mark Lewis, the valedictorian, gave an inspiring speech about the future. Perry Meridian High School was finally acknowledged during the 1974-1975 school year mainly due to the boys’ basketball team. Perry’s students also became closer to their new home away from home, and Southport was left behind. Throughout the school year, the new high school gained experience and notability. Works Cited Albright, Kevin. Graduating Class of 1977. Personal Interview. April 10, 2007. Bondi, Victor. American Decades. Detroit: Gale Research Inc, 1995. Curtis, Carey. "Indiana." Tornado Outbreak: The Worst in U.S. History. Online. Accessed: 3/21/2007. "Dedication of Perry Meridian High School." Board of Education. January 27, 1974. Felix, Becky. 1974-2007 Teacher at Perry Meridian High School. Personal Interview. April 3, 2007. Head, James. Commencement Of Perry Meridian High School. Indianapolis. Indianapolis: Perry High School, 1975. Hume, Pam. "Final Forthcoming begins October 17." "FOCUS". October 4, 1974: Page 1 Johnson, Nancy. 1974-2007 Teacher at Perry Meridian High School. Personal Interview. April 10, 2007. Kyle, Jane (Raker). 1975 Perry Meridian Graduate. 1974-1975. Personal Interview. 12 April 2007. Montgomery, Ken. 1977 Perry Meridian Graduate. 1974-1977. Personal Interview. 2 April 2007.Passages I. New York: American Yearbook Association. 1974. Moulton, David. 1974-Present Teacher of Perry Meridian. 1974-Present. Personal Interview. 11 April 2007. Passages II. New York: American Yearbook Association. 1975. Passages III. New York: American Yearbook Company, 1976. “Perry Meridian Offers Woody Allen Comedy.” The Spotlight. 17 April 1975: 1. "Perry Township Schools Free Lunch Program". The Spotlight. Thursday, September 5, 1974: Page 1. “PMHS Musical Feb. 20-21 Has Many Special Effects.” The Spotlight. 13 February 1975: 1 “Pro, Anti Marchers Mark Abortion Decision.” Indianapolis Star. 23 January 1975: 6. Central Library of Indianapolis. Microfiche, 17 March 2007. Stephenson, Jan. Graduating Class of 1977. Personal Interview. April 10, 2007. Stewart, Gail. A Cultural History of the United States Through the Decades: The 1970s. San Diego: Lucent Books Inc., 1999. Taylor, Steve. 1974-2007 Teacher at Perry Meridian High School. Personal Interview. April 12, 2007. Theil, Dave. "Falcons Dominate Final Three." "FOCUS". November 8th, 1974: Page 4. Yeager, Jay. Graduating Class of 1974. Personal Interview. April 10, 2007.