80-81 1980-1981 As the doors to Perry Meridian High School opened in late August of 1980, students rushed into the building excited to see friends and teachers. The year 1980-1981 started off with the annual Homecoming Extravaganza. However, the 1980 Homecoming was different than all of the past years. The Homecoming of 1980 marked the first ever Perry Meridian Homecoming Parade. The parade started on Saturday morning at Douglas McArthur Elementary School and ended at Perry Meridian High School. Then, the football game took place that afternoon and was followed by a dance that night. The Homecoming Queen was Karla Haviland, and escorting her was Steve Adams. Steve was a member of the football team, and Karla was a cheerleader for many school sporting events (Passages VIII 80B & 80G). As the school year progressed into September, tensions between teachers and the school board began to mount. The teachers that were employed by Perry Township tried to negotiate some terms they felt should be included in their contract. Some of the terms the teachers believed they should have were dental plans, a base salary of 11,950 dollars, changes in wages for extracurricular activities, curriculum evaluations, teacher authority, transfers and promotions, academic freedoms, and changes in grievance procedures. However, when the teachers of Perry Township presented their proposals to the school board, they were denied. This outraged the majority of the teachers in Perry Township (Passages VIII 80H). To further emphasize their side of the argument, many teachers wore armbands to show they supported the Perry Educators Association and disapproved of how the board was handling the situation. Finally, on September 18, 1980, the teachers of Perry Township took a stand. On this September day, the majority of the teachers working for Perry Township took a sick day. As one can only imagine, the day was a complete disaster. Students showed up for a normal school day only to find that most of the teachers were gone. After the first couple of periods, students started leaving school, wandering about the halls, and playing pranks. Although the school board said that September 18 was a normal school day, Perry Township staff and students said otherwise. However, even the teacher strike and picket lines did not bring about negotiations. The board scheduled another meeting in which they discussed the terms of the contract negotiations (Passages VIII 80H). As the struggle for teacher contract negotiations continued, Perry Meridian High School students and the rest of United States of America were also tangled in a heated debate. Everyone was debating about who should win the presidency of 1980. The two candidates that were running for the presidency were Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Many wanted Reagan to win because he appeared confident and relaxed. On the other hand, Carter was extremely defensive, and many people feared there would be tension between all types of politics if he was elected as president. As it turned out, Reagan was elected by the majority of Perry Meridian students in their mock election that took place at the school. The majority of the American people also voted for Reagan. This resulted in Ronald Reagan taking office for his first term as president of the United States of America (Passages VIII 57). As the end of the semester approached for Perry students, the end of a life approached for a very popular song artist. John Lennon was a member of the Beatles which was a rock group of the late 1970’s. However, he split from the group and decided to be an independent singer. He turned out to be quite successful. Lennon produced a number one album called “Double Fantasy” with a number one hit single on it titled “Just Like Starting Over.” The album was released in September of 1980, and it was an instant success. Life was going well for Lennon and his wife until one fateful winter night. On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot seven times just outside his apartment in New York City by a twenty-five year old man named Mark David Chapman, who was an avid Beatles fan (Kallen 80). The assassination of the famous rock star was a horrible shock to people all across the nation, including Perry students. However, Perry students found ways to cheer up in this time of tragedy. One of the happier events that took students’ minds off the John Lennon tragedy was the Christmas dance. The dance was always held right before Christmas Break and always provided students with a fun-filled atmosphere. Ladies often wore long elegant looking dresses, and the men wore dress shirts with nice pants and ties. The theme of the Christmas dance of 1980 was, “Winter Wonderland Warms Hearts.” Among some of the activities offered were the Mr. and Mrs. Claus contest, which was determined by who could do the best Ho, Ho, Ho’s. The dance was mainly designed to get students in the Christmas Spirit (Passages VIII 85). As the beginning of a new year began, so did a new semester for Perry Meridian High school students. With the start of a new year, new problems in the school system also began rose. One of the largest issues with the coming of the new year was the bussing of inner city students over to Perry Meridian High School. This issue received much attention from the media. The Perry Township school system discussed the issue of integrating IPS students into Perry Schools and decided to come up with a plan. The plan was to select a group of 150 IPS students and bring them to Perry Meridian High School. The school board said that they would try their plan for a period of about six weeks to see how smoothly things went. As it turned out, there were not as many problems as originally thought. During an interview with Mr. Tony LaRosa, he mentioned that, “There had always been troublemakers in the school, but when the IPS students came to Perry, there were policemen stationed throughout the entire school. This forced people to shape up and do what they were supposed to do,” said LaRosa (LaRosa Personal Interview). Many people that experienced bussing in the early days said that they believed it was a very big turning point. As the board’s plan continued to take place, many students at Perry found it difficult to get along with the IPS students. On the other hand, many of the IPS students found that they struggled in the Perry Township school system because of its extremely strict disciplinary rules. As the weeks progressed, new clubs were started to help students both from IPS and Perry schools cope with the changes that were currently taking place with the experimentation of the integration plan (Passages VIII 8-9). Despite some of the negative issues that came about, Mrs. Keith said in an interview that she thought there were good things that came out of the trying integration plan. She mentioned that she felt that Perry Meridian advanced in social and cultural status quicker than other schools because Perry stepped out to try something new to benefit more students of the community (Keith Personal Interview). In addition to Perry Meridian High stepping out and trying new things, another goal was to have the special education classes direct students to mainstream into the school. The idea behind this plan was to allow the special education students a chance to interact with other kids in the school and to let them participate in more school events and activities. The plan started in January of 1981, and by spring, many of the Special Education students were mainstreamed into Perry Meridian High School. The results were fantastic. The student body realized that the special education students were just like everyone else and deserved to have the same opportunities as all of the other students (Passages VIII 49). As Perry Meridian High School tried new ideas, so did the world of medicine and research. In the late spring of 1981, Dr. Judith C. Gasson developed the first human growth factor that was ever purified. This medical treatment shortened the time from five weeks to two for a patient to recover from a bone marrow transplant. The human growth factor helped the white blood cells multiply quicker in the patient’s body after the procedure was complete. Also in the spring, Dr. Glenn Langer developed the new ideas of how the heart contracts and the changes in the ions and cells in the heart. He used his new ideas to help come up with better ways to detect heart disease at an earlier age (“Medical and Research Achievements”). Also in the late spring, women continued stepping out, trying new things, and standing up for what they believed was right. For example, in the spring of 1981, the Supreme Court stated that women could sue their employers if they were doing the same type of work and working as many hours as men, but they were not getting paid the same amount of money. Although the Supreme Court ruling did not change the way women were paid immediately, it certainly helped women in the long run. To further emphasize how women were making great strides in the work force, Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman justice in the history of the Supreme Court (Kallen 67, 69). As spring progressed, most students were busy getting ready for the upcoming prom. The year’s theme was “Precious and Few.” The prom’s color scheme included anything pastel colored. The two celebrities of the night were Prom King, Duane Geiger, and Prom Queen, Katrina Fair. The annual event was held at the Columbia Club in downtown Indianapolis. The night was a blast, and for some, it was the most memorable event of the year (Passages IX 31). Even though Prom was the highlight of many students at Perry, nothing looked more exciting than the thought of the end to another school year. In fact, nothing could compare to the joy felt by the senior class officers. These three people were Denise Gritton, president; Brian Burgess, vice president; and Brian Richardson, secretary treasurer (Passages VIII 160). These wonderful seniors were looking forward to starting a new school in the fall, but were also glad for all the memories that they made at Perry Meridian High school. As the year came to an end, many people reflected on the events that took place throughout the school year. There were new clubs and ideas during the year. As well as these events, there were also difficult times in the school system, and unforgettable events that took place over the past year. Even though another school year had ended, another one was always in sight. No matter what happened, Perry would always be there to reach out and help students get the education they needed to succeed in life. Works Cited Kallen, Stuart A. A Cultural History of the United States Through the Decades the 1980's. San Diego: Lucent Books Incorporated, 1999. Keith. Sharon. Teacher. 1974-2007. Personal Interview. 11 April 2007. LaRosa, Tony. Student. 1978-1982. Personal Interview. 11 April 2007. "Medical and Research Achievements." UCLA Healthcare. . 11 March 2007. Passages VIII: Pride Sounds Out. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Jostens, 1981. Passages XI. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Jostens, 1982.