77-78 1977-1978 The year began with Perry Meridian High School students dressed as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever with flared slacks and polyester shirts. Everyone had seen Star Wars at least three times and watched Happy Days with their families every night. The Eagles “Hotel California” and The Emotions “Best of My Love” could be heard from record players all across the nation (Epstein 38-39). This culture sparked PM’s style for the 1977-1978 school year. Newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Raymond Fatheree began the year for Perry Township. Unfortunately, the budget troubles led to layoffs in Perry Township schools, including PMHS. However, the school’s high standards were not affected (Passages V 216). He was helped by newly the newly re-elected Board of Education of the Metropolitan School District of Perry Township President, James L. Davis (“Davis Again Heads Perry School Board” 5). Its class officers also led Perry. Senior officers included Secretary-Treasurer Laurie Boomer, Vice President Kathy Driscoll, and President Jim Wessel (Passages V 147). However, it was the junior class officers who made an impact in the 1977-1978 school year. Secretary-Treasurer Kim Epler, Vice President Mark Williams, and President Jeff Lepper changed PM’s history by moving the location of the prom from the front foyer (Passages V 180), which was also suggested by Principal James Head at a Perry Township board meeting (“Perry Metro School Board Report” 10). Prom was a long way off at the beginning of the 1977-1978 school year, but Homecoming was just around the corner, and Homecoming came with a force, a “Falcon Force” that is. The Homecoming theme, “Falcon Force”, sparked Perry’s enthusiasm with the annual bonfire the night before. The parade was also a success when the junior class captured the float prize for the third consecutive year. Homecoming Queen, Senior Linda House ‘78, and her court watched as the Falcon football team bravely defeated Howe High School (Passages V 8), 39-28 with the help of that year’s football MVP, Art Smith ’78 (Wade Personal Interview). Along with the football team, other fall sports teams were successful for the Falcons. The 1977-1978 women’s volleyball team had a winning record of 25-2. The girls won both the county and sectional competitions two consecutive years. The men’s cross country team placed second in sectionals, while Bob Richards ’78 placed first individually (Passages V 106-108). Also, the men’s Varsity tennis team won the Sectional Championship with the help of Coach David Shaffer (Passages V 125). In addition to athletics, clubs and activities were very popular at PMHS. During this school year, there were over eighty different clubs and activities at PM, not including athletics. The Quill and Scroll Society was a club offered for students who excelled in Journalism. Then President David Parker ‘78, Vice President Darla Vibbert ‘78, Treasurer Jill Hess ‘78, and Secretary/Scribe Michelle Wessler ‘78 did something unusual for the club’s initiation in 1977. All new members appeared on the Popeye and Peggy Show, which was a popular local children’s television show on Channel Four (Passages V 94). Along with the Quill and Scroll Society, other clubs made many major breakthroughs that year. Student Council had its first male President, Andy Staab ‘78. The Roines, which was a club traditionally for senior girls, initiated three male members. Mrs. Betty Toombs and Mrs. Evelina Brown were the club sponsors (Passages V 70). Some clubs and groups were awarded for their efforts. The 1977-1978 Marching Band, with the help of the Majorettes and Falconettes, performed on the Circle for the Mini Marathon and in a parade in Lebanon. They also placed fourth in the State Fair competition (Passages V 79). The cheerleading squads also participated in the Indiana State Fair Cheerleading Contest. Varsity placed eighth out of eighty-five squads, while Reserve received second place in their division. The squads also participated in a workshop at Vincennes University where they placed in the top eight of two hundred squads and were awarded the Spirit Stick (Passages V 69). Later in the first semester, an event took place to help change the women at PMHS forever. On November 18th through the 20th, the first National Women’s Conference drew 1,442 women to Houston, Texas, in order to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. This Amendment would eliminate institutional gender discrimination, allowing women at Perry and all over the nation to gain the recognition they deserved (Hakim 141). PM’s women’s clubs and athletics proved they deserved that recognition by being successful throughout the year. Afterward, many winter sports began their training, and clubs prepared for their upcoming holiday activities. However, no one could have foreseen the treacherous upcoming winter. The Blizzard of 1978 hit Perry Township and all of Indiana on the night of January 25th. It was the largest snowstorm to ever hit Indiana bringing anywhere from 15.5 to 22 inches of snow along with fifty mile per hour winds. Governor Otis Bowen declared Indiana in a state of emergency, while Mayor of Indianapolis William Hudnut issued storm emergencies and closed a majority of the city’s roads. The Indiana National Guard was called to keep drivers off the roads as well. By the end of the storm on January 27th, nearly twenty-four inches of snow had fallen, causing eleven deaths. PMHS was closed for two and half weeks after the storm. During this period, it was not required for students to make up snow days. Many former students and teachers recalled the storm as the major event of the decade (Brown and Brown 1). At the same time of the storm, the nation experienced an ongoing energy crisis. Therefore, schools in Perry Township were trying to conserve energy by not using as much heat. Students were released early from school a few days each week to conserve the heat (Slack Personal Interview). After the winter storm, winter sports began to wind up their seasons. The men’s swim team was able to capture their first sectional crown thanks to record breakers Mike Lewis ‘78 and Kevan Johnston ’78 (Passages V 131). The wrestling team was able to advance to the Regional competition and win, producing many state competitors like Duane Mathews ‘78, Pete Malloy ‘79, and Greg Dooley ’78 (Passages V 134). Even though these teams had outstanding seasons, the teams to talk about were the 1977-1978 men’s and women’s gymnastics teams. The men’s team had seven members advance to State, where Tom Gould ‘79 was awarded state champion in the still-rings competition (Passages V 132). However, the Lady Falcon gymnasts brought home the big one. These women, under the coaching of Mrs. Connie (Beck) Walters, were the1978 State Champions. Kelly Enright ‘80 and Kristi Gritton ‘78, who won the state championship in all-around, floor exercise, vault, and balance beam, respectively, led the team. The team had an amazing season prior to the state competition with a record of 11-0, winning both Sectionals and Regionals (Passages V 115). After the winter, spring blossomed, and the men and women’s track and field teams began their official season. The men’s team had a losing record of 2-5; however, they had a victory over rival Southport and placed second in the Southport Relays. But most importantly, Mike Armstrong ‘78 broke the school record in the two-mile run and won individually in Sectionals (Passages VI 137). The women’s track team had a winning season with a record of 8-2. The highlight of the season was Shannon Flickinger ‘78 being named 1978’s Outstanding Track Athlete (Passages VI 141). The year was coming to a close, but one of the biggest events was yet to come, prom. New traditions were started in 1977-1978 by moving the prom from PM’s font foyer to Valle Vista Country Club and by serving a buffet. The theme of the prom was “La Noche de Velas” or “The Night of Candles”. The band “Just Friends” entertained Prom King John Scheuth ‘78 and his queen, Gayle Burton ’78 (Passages VI 12). The prom was a blast for PM’s junior and senior classes, but what the seniors eagerly anticipated was graduation, the first sign of growing up and flying the coop. The Class of 1978 was anxiously waiting for their final day as a Falcon. The fifth Commencement was unique because for the first time, there were two valedictorians. Emily Fraser ‘78 and Tina Natterstad ‘78 were both named 1978’s Valedictorians. The two gave their own speeches to their class, along with Senior Class President Jim Wessel ‘78. Along with having two valedictorians, another change was also made at the Commencement. Newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Raymond Fatheree and Senior Vice President Kathy Driscoll presented the Class of 1978 with their diplomas, instead of just the superintendent. It was certainly a Commencement of changes and a day to remember (Passages VI 14). Students and faculty will never forget their experience at Perry during this period. Ms. Dawn (House) Gentry ’80 will never forget her sophomore year, not only because of her sister’s nomination for Homecoming Queen, but her own nomination for Homecoming Princess (Gentry Personal Interview). Mrs. Jacque (Thompson) Milholland ’80 recalled her sophomore year as being one with great teachers like Ms. Sue Greaves, Mrs. Mary Rebber, Mrs. Connie (Beck) Walters, Mrs. Carol Fischer, and Mrs. Joan Ellis (Milholland Personal Interview). Both Ms. Gentry and Mrs. Milholland now work at PMHS. They are giving back to the school that gave them so many memories and taught them life lessons. Mr. Mike Slack still teaches at Perry, and he recalls this time as the building block of the Falcon tradition. Teaching at Perry Meridian for this long has changed his life. He refers to all of the teachers he worked with during the 1970’s as family, making his experience at PMHS worthwhile (Slack Personal Interview). Perry Meridian High School was a growing and learning experience for many during the 1977-1978 school year. However, no one could have expected the great things that were yet to come.