78-79 1978-1979 National Lampoon’s Animal House, Superman, and Grease had just hit the big screen. Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company, and Mork and Mindy came on the televisions and into the homes of many Perry Meridian students. The Bee Gees’ “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive” topped the music charts (Epstein 40-41). Perry Meridian students were inspired by this popular culture for the 1978-1979 school year. Perry Meridian’s style shone with the first major event, Homecoming. “Boogie to the Falcon Beat” was the saying and theme of the night. Homecoming Queen Katy Hendricks ’79 watched with pride as the Falcon football team defeated Columbus North 38-12. The evening before, the Falcons held their annual bonfire and parade. The seniors were able to capture the award for the best float (Passages VI 8). Leading Perry this year were the senior class officers. Secretary-Treasurer Kim Epler, Vice President Bill Kennedy, and President Jeff Lepper helped make a positive impact on all of the Falcons (Passages VI 149). However, the junior class officers had the most difficulty in preparing for their senior year, preparing for the SAT, and planning the Junior-Senior Prom. Taking the challenge of completing these tasks were Secretary-Treasurer Molly Clemans, Vice President Susie Hinkle, and President Dave Emmett (Passages VI 182). Early in the school year, on August 15th, the House of Representatives extended the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The extension would last until 1982. This was another event to help the women at Perry receive more recognition, like the National Women’s Conference the previous school year (Stewart 34). Another major event for PMHS was when the Rowdies became a part of the Falcon Brigade. The Rowdies were a spirited group of students who cheered on their fellow Falcons. The Falcons had an abundance of school spirit; however, the Rowdies brought fresh chants and cheers to the crowds. The Falcon Brigade, with the new help of the Rowdies, brought spirit to its successful teams (Passages VI 47). Many of these successful teams were fall sports. The varsity football team finished with a winning record of 7-3. But most importantly, many of the Falcon football players received individual awards for their efforts. Bill Kennedy ’79 and Jim Woelfel ’79 were chosen for the All-County Team. Woelfel ’79 was also chosen as an All-State Honorable Mention Representative (Passages VI 106). The men’s cross country team finished fifth in county, beating Southport. The team also finished an impressive second out of twenty-six Sectional teams (Passages VI 110). The 1978 volleyball team had an outstanding season as well. The team won the sectional championship, advancing to Regionals by defeating Whiteland, Franklin, and Center Grove. Unfortunately, Ben Davis defeated the Falcons (Passages VI 114). Approximately a month before the end of the semester, one of the most controversial topics was to erupt in Perry Township. Indianapolis Public Schools, or IPS, was trying to promote desegregation by providing a busing system for Marion County schools. Federal Judge S. Hugh Dillan believed a two-way busing system would be most beneficial in desegregating Marion County schools, including PMHS. Many parents and students were against the idea because they might have to change schools in a two-way busing system. However, many judges, teachers, administrators, and community members believed the plan would help give students of different race equal opportunities. In the end, the court ruled that IPS students would be bused into Perry Township, but it was not decided until many years later (Rohn 3). By this time, the first semester of the 1978-1979 school year was coming to a close. Winter sports teams were in the midst of their seasons. Clubs began their holiday activities. And the year had many more surprises to come. The spring and early winter marked a time of great athletic prowess for both Perry Meridian and Indiana That school year marked the second year for the lady gymnasts’ State championships. Under Coach Connie (Beck) Walters, the undefeated lady gymnasts captured the second state championship in a row (Passages VI 61). The biggest star was junior Kelly Enright, who also won several individual state championships. She won state in the floor exercise, vault, beam, bars, and all-around (Wall of Fame). Shot-Putter Karen Nitsch won state also. Indiana also did very well in sports. The Indiana Hoosiers finished the season with a 7-4 record and beat top-ranked Brigham Young in the Holiday Bowl 38-37. The Purdue Boilermakers also had a stellar season; they the beat University of Tennessee Volunteers in the Blue Bonnet Bowl. In professional football, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the St. Louis Rams to win a fourth Super Bowl title (Passages VII 39). Speaking of successful women, the women’s rights movement of the seventies was heralded by the 1979 issue of the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar. She was the first woman to be portrayed on a coin. Susan B. Anthony played a pivotal role in the women’s rights movement through her activity in getting women the right to vote and through her creation of the National American Women Suffrage Association (Hoobler and Hoobler 23). The boy’s intramural basketball team, sponsored by Mr. Dan Cunningham and Mr. Jerry Brown, had a successful program. The most outstanding team were the Aces, ranked on top in both the AP and UPI rankings. The team made up of players Dan Richards, Jim Woelfel, Greg Cornelius, Brian Kincaid, Mark Spencer, Dave Bauer, Dan Legan, Jeff Cherry, Doug Hendricks and Rock Adams; beat teams like the Rejects, Crew-X and THGEWAS (Passages VI 28). “That was a lot of fun. It was just a great program. A bunch of kids from the football team did it, and we formed a little team. And since I transferred from Roncalli, and it didn’t have a program like that; I thought it was really great” (Cherry Personal Interview). While those boys playing in the heated gym, three thousand farmers were protesting in Washington, D.C for more rights. They were demanding better price supports for their products. They entered traffic in their tractors, causing a massive traffic snarl. Ironically, there was a snowstorm later, and the tractors later helped clear the snow (Aronson, Crippen and Leonard 1037). The Aquatides, the synchronized swimming team, performed a show called “A Night on Broadway” in the spring of 1979. Combining water ballet and deck routines, that year’s Annual Watershow featured hits from musical favorites such as Oliver, Oklahoma and Jesus Christ Superstar (Passages VI 44). Says 1979 graduate Joe La Rosa, who helped Aquatide sponsor Ms. Harriet Schenkman and set designer Mr. Barry Hearin make the sets, the best part was hanging out with girls in swimsuits (La Rosa Personal Interview). The other performance that spring was the crowd-pleasing play “The Night of January 26.” The play presented the story of a trial for fifth-degree murder, and it was the audience that decided the verdict. Peggy Gritt played Karen Andre, the defendant who received two different verdicts from two different audiences (Passages VII 96). Meanwhile that spring, there was a disaster at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. One of the nuclear chambers almost melted due to excessive heat. If the bubble of nuclear waste gas had enlarged enough, it would have popped and seeped into the ground and water supply. This causes many more safety procedures at nuclear facilities everywhere (“Three Mile Island Accident Prompts Nuclear Reform, Mar. 28, 1979”). The boys’ varsity basketball team had a winning record of 11-9 under Coach Dave Bertram. They had numerous victories against teams, such as Lawrence Central, Greenwood and Plainfield. Some standout players included junior Mike Thompson and seniors Jim King and Gordon Godec. However, the reserve team did much better. Under Coach Jim Hohlt, they finished a successful season with a winning 14-4 record. Players, such as junior scoring machine Rob Harmon, Jim Maschmeyer, and Charles Bujarsky contributed to the team’s success. The freshman team under newcomer coach Darryl Mood, formerly at Ritter High School, finished with a 9-3 record. Standout players included Howard Bertram, Rick Carter and Rick Music (Passages VI 58). There was another basketball team competing at Perry during the early spring. Perry Township was hosting the Special Olympics Northeast District Tournament. Fifty-four teams of mentally and physically challenged youth and adults from across the state competed in a basketball tournament. The teams were divided by age and skill level, and the championship game was held at Indiana State University (“Perry Schools To Host Handicapped Tourney” 1). Under Coach Richard Brunhoeler, the boy’s swimming team finished with a 7-3 record and a sectional championship. The most outstanding swimmer was Paul Schueth; other outstanding Falcons included Matt Need, Brian McKeehan, and Floyd Sendmeyer (Passages VI). Girls’ track, under Coach Celia Thompson, not only finished with an 8-2 record and third place in county; but shot putter Karen Nitsch won state. She threw for forty-six feet and ten-and-a-half inches; and was only three feet and three-and-one-half inches short of the state record (Passages VII 73). As the end of spring and the end of school approached, the activity was just heating up. One of the end-of-year events was the Mini-Olympics. Every year, seniors form teams of five girls and five boys and compete in strenuous events like tug-of-war and balloon toss. At first, the “Sophisticats” were crowned the winners; but that decision was overturned, and the championship was awarded to the Super Babies. The best costume award went to the “Bad Habbits,” who were religious men and women, dressed in exposing garters and slits reaching mid-calf (Passages VII 18-19). And while the competition was fierce at Perry Meridian, things were heating up even more in the Cambodian area. Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge government was abusing the civilians and practicing genocide on minorities. Vietnam invaded Cambodia in an effort to displace the government the winter before. They eventually toppled the totalitarian government and its leader Pol Pot. But later that spring China, who was Cambodia’s ally, invaded Vietnam in an effort to persuade Vietnam to pull out of Cambodia. After China had captured Hanoi, they followed UN orders and pulled out, but Vietnam occupied Cambodia for much longer, defying UN urgings (Aronson, Crippen and Leonard 1038-1046, 1052, 1054, 1058). As the year ended, Perry’s upperclassmen finally got some last tastes of high school. The Junior-Senior Prom “Poems, Prayers and Promises” was held at the Valle Vista Country Club. The junior class officers; who were responsible for planning the Prom, were Dave Emmett, Susan Hinkle and Molly Clemens. The Dad’s Club had started to give car valet service, which has become a Dad’s Club tradition. The band “Just Friends” provided music, and seniors Jackie Tinnerman and Tracy Gentry were crowned Prom Queen and King (Passages VII 16-17). Speaking of good relationships, May marked a start of better relations between China and the United States. China finally opened formal commercial and diplomatic relations with the US for the first time since the Communist government was formed in 1949. Seven years after President Nixon’s visit, the United States was making progress. Besides trading, China also opened up in other ways, such as allowing US newspapers to sell and be printed in China (“1979: US Opens Diplomatic Relations with China” ). The end of the school year at Perry Meridian brought one more important event: graduation. Four-hundred and ninety-two graduating seniors and guests crowded into the gym to watch as Mr. Head and other members of the school board presented the graduates with their diplomas. That graduating class had two co-valedictorians instead of a salutatorian: Susan Jones and Sharon Fulton. Class president Jeff Lepper congratulated students as they received their diploma, vice president Bill Kennedy read the names of graduates, and secretary-treasurer Kim Epler led the gym in saying the Pledge of Allegiance (Passages VII 14-15). The Something Extra Award for 1979 was given to Lee Robbins, whose biggest contribution to Perry was being President of Student Council (Passages VI 32). The Retiring Faculty Member Award, where each retiring faculty member honored a senior, was given to Jennifer Huff by Ms. Jaye Bush, a math teacher, and to Don Stallard by Mr. Ken Wasson, an Industrial Arts teacher (Wall of Fame). Mr. Jack Morgan, a business teacher who had retired the year before, passed away (Passages VI 227). And while Falcons and Hoosiers were celebrating their athletic championships, the United States was having some political trouble. A near-meltdown at a nuclear power plant almost became the next Chernobyl. The situation in Cambodia got complicated, as alliances forced numerous West Asian countries to invade. Luckily, the United States managed to improve relations with China, but the political stage was just heating up for the next year.