75-76 1975-1976 The school year of 1975-1976 marked a very important time in Perry Meridian High School. Throughout the year, Perry carried on the theme of America’s bicentennial. Social studies students designed bulletin boards with various historical themes. Many students participated in essay contests that promoted America’s bicentennial, and the music department added patriotic segments to regular convocations. Even the “Uncle Sam” cover of the yearbook was inspired by America’s two-hundredth birthday. Homecoming was another school activity that included a patriotic theme (Passages III 12-13). On October 10, 1975, Perry’s first Homecoming took place. The theme was “A Falcon Salute to America.” The first Homecoming queen was Leesa Wilson. The Falcons defeated Ben Davis with a score of 20-7. After the victory, a dance was held at the student center. Over seven hundred tickets were sold to the dance, and the band “Malachi” performed (Passages III 10-11). Unlike the decorative nature of Homecoming, the fall play had no scenery. “Our Town” was presented in the Perry Meridian High School auditorium on November 7 and 8. The lack of props and scenery presented a challenge to the cast, but the hard work paid off to make the play a success (Passages III 22-23). A few days later, on November 23, the Indianapolis Star named five Perry football players on their all-county picks. Tim Kennedy, Pat Egenolf, Steve Legan, seniors, and Brian Campbell and Mark Neu, juniors, were listed on the first string Marion County football squad. Seniors, Legan, Campbell, Neu, along with Phil Jackson and Dave Theil, were all named on the Star’s first string (Watson 3). During the 1975-1976 school year, many athletic teams performed better than ever. The boys’ varsity basketball team completed their best season record of 21-6. The team triumphed in sectional and regional competition. After winning the IHSAA Regional basketball title, the victory made the Falcons the only team left to represent Indianapolis and Marion County in the Sweet Sixteen Semi-State Tournament. The boys’ basketball team made it to the second game of the IHSAA Semi-State, but sadly, they were defeated by Rushville. The score was 92-85. The Falcons were led by Ken Montgomery during the regular season with a total of 459 points. Ken Montgomery, Kevin Rostenkowski, and Greg Perdue were chosen by the Indianapolis Star for their All-Regional basketball team, and Kevin Rostenkowski became the first school All-Star in 1976 (Passages III 100-101). The boys’ gymnastic team finished their season with a winning 10-2 record. They placed second in sectional and county competition, and five members of the team qualified for the state meet. The girls’ basketball team had a 10-4 regular season record, and they made it to semi-state. The regional wins brought the girls to Sweet Sixteen where they competed in the first girls’ basketball sectionals held in Indiana (Passages III 124). Throughout the winter months, many students were unhappy with the lack of activities in their hometown. However, all of this changed when the Perry Meridian Ice Rink opened in January of 1976. Admission was at a reasonable price of seventy-five cents for the high school students (Delaney 2). January proved to be an interesting month for the National Honor Society. Former mayor Richard Lugar, 1976 candidate for the Indiana Senate race, addressed the National Honor Society and ES History class members at the Honor Society meeting on January 9. He explained two attitudes toward government today and opened the floor for a question and answer session. Many students were intrigued and inspired by Lugar’s address (Passages III 70). While the Pittsburgh Steelers were celebrating their Super Bowl victory, many Perry students prepared for the third musical at the high school (The World in 1976: History as we Lived It 13-17). “Fiddler on the Roof” was performed in February with a cast and crew of one hundred and seventy-eight. Co-directors were Mr. Guy Rumsey and Mrs. Anne Sanders. Tevye, a poor Russian dairyman, was played by Brian Hewett, and Tevye’s wife, Golde, was portrayed by Jackie Parke (Passages IV 14-15). As Perry students were content with their surroundings, a revolution had begun in New York and London; that revolution was known as the punk rock revolution. Punk started as a rebellion against the smooth pop-rock that was heard during the early seventies. Punk emphasized democracy and equality. It was even related to the working-class uprising against the Establishment, which was similar to the Progressive Movement that Perry students were learning about in U.S. History (Time of Transition 128-129). In the business department, Perry Meridian was recognized across Indiana in April of 1976. The Future Business Leaders of America Club was selected as the third most outstanding local chapter in Indiana during the thirtieth State Leadership Conference. Thirty-one F.B.L.A. members attended the convention which was held at Ball State University (“P.M.H.S. Scored High at F.B.L.A. Convention” 7). During the 1975-1976 school year, Kevin Rostenkowski excelled in not only basketball, but baseball as well. Rostenkowski was the leading pitcher and hitter for the Falcons during the school year. He was offered a contract by the San Francisco Giants at the end of his senior year, but he turned it down to attend Miami of Ohio. The baseball team beat Southport, which put them at a 5-5 tie for the All-Sports trophy (Passages IV 122). The score for the All Sports Trophy ended in a tie between Southport and Perry Meridian for the 1975-1976 school year. Perry won wrestling, swimming, football, basketball, and baseball. Southport won track, golf, gymnastics, cross country, and tennis. The trophy was at Perry for the first semester of the next school year and at Southport for the second semester. The tie had a memorable effect on the students. The Falcons were very proud that their young teams were as good as Southport’s mature teams (Bixler 6). Another memorable event of the school year included a mysterious padlocked locker. Head custodian, Roland McGathey, was ordered by principal Head to open up the locker. There was a terrible smell coming from the locker in the east hallway where the guidance department was. After removing the padlock, McGathey opened it up and found a dead possum in the locker! McGathey also noted that the possum had swelled up, and he could barely get it out of the locker (McGathey Personal Interview). Unlike the possum incident, the spring play was very dreamy. The spring play at Perry Meridian was the Shakespearean comedy “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.” Keith Strucker and Leesa Wilson portrayed the young lovers, and Mark Gunnion and Lorrain Sargen played the king and queen of Fairyland. The intricate three-part play was directed by Ms. Kathy Martin (Passages IV 22). Prom, the concluding dance of the year, had finally arrived on May 18, 1976. The prom theme was “Starry Starry Night,” and it took place in the front foyer. A senior of 1976, John Peaper, remembered wearing a sky blue tuxedo to prom, which was very stylish at the time (Peaper Personal Interview) .The prom king was Kevin Rostenkowski, and the prom queen was Stacey Blair. The Turnabout Quartet played a variety of music, which the students danced to (Passages IV 24-25). After prom was finished, the “Mini-Olympics” was the last school event for the seniors of 1976. The second “Mini-Olympics” was an exciting day for seniors. Brent Stephenson, the senior class president, organized the events. The Roadrunners were the overall winners, and the Mighty Meese received the trophy for best costumes (Passages IV 26). On May 29, 1976, five hundred and twenty-three students graduated from Perry Meridian High School. Linda Geiger, the valedictorian, gave a speech about future success to fellow students. There were so many spectators that the commencement was televised in the auditorium to accommodate such an overflow. After graduation, the Falcons and Cardinals had a party at German Park. The group Roadmaster provided the musical entertainment (Passages IV 28-29). Although Jackie Parke didn’t receive official recognition, she was very happy to accept the Something Extra Award. She was president of Student Council and a member of National Honor Society. She also participated in choir, volleyball, and cheerleading (Wall of Fame). The minds of former Perry students were filled with the outstanding athletic games, the entertaining dances, and the interesting curriculum when they remembered the year of 1975-1976. It seemed that every school year was better than the previous, and the students became more and more attached to the high school. Throughout the 1975-1976 school year, Perry greatly improved in athletics, academics, and the arts. In turn, the Falcons’ morale boosted higher than ever before.