81-82 1981-1982 Slightly before the doors of Perry Meridian opened for the 1981-82 school year, Music Television, MTV, made its first broadcast. On August 1, the first music video to air on the station was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. The new channel began appropriately as one of the most music-oriented decades in history unfolded. Since MTV’s existence, adolescents across the nation have turned to the station as a source of music (Bondi 26). The school year of 1981-82 brought about a big change for Perry Meridian. Judge S. Hugh Dillon ruled that desegregation was to go into effect that fall. Perry Meridian High School opened its doors to 115 black freshman students who formerly attended IPS schools (Passages IX 2). The program called for the immediate desegregation of grades one to nine. From then on, first graders would be added until all grades reached full desegregation. At the end of the previous school year, the new students were allowed to come and view Perry Meridian. The visitation day went by smoothly. The media came out on the first day of school expecting drama, but they were disappointed. However, Melinda Peterson Willsey recalls parents protesting the busing in the parking lot. It got so bad that they started to throw eggs at the buses, and the event made it on the news (Willsey Personal Interview). When October came around, the media’s dreams were fulfilled. A few acts of violence occurred, and those isolated acts were irrationally magnified to the point of raising racial tension tremendously. Rumors of double standards and special treatment on both sides of the racial battle were spread. A fifty student walk-out did nothing to divert the media’s attention from Perry Meridian schools. Thankfully, a convocation to suggest ways to ease the racial tension in the school was held. Many hard feelings and problems were resolved. Also, the Desegregation Assistance Center of Indiana University held a leadership retreat for some of the students (Passages IX 8-9). Another new addition to the halls of Perry Meridian was a group called Team Perry. The club set up a freshman with a senior big brother or sister, so that they could be together and communicate with more ease. Also added were an Information Center, weekly discussion groups, and a Human Relations Club. Many of these were added in response to the racial problems that fall (Passages IX 9). The class officers for this controversial school year of 1981-82 were President Todd Anthony, Vice President Jim Kidwell, and Secretary-treasurer Susan Spencer. The other class presidents were junior Bill Fulton, sophomore Tim Mulinaro, and freshman John Knabel (Passages IX 199). Although it cannot be seen in the make-up of Perry’s class officers, women’s rights made great progress in 1981. The Supreme Court ruled that women who did the same type of work as men should get an equal amount of money. This idea is called “comparable worth.” The ruling did not change things immediately, but it did aid the women’s rights movement (Kallen 67, 69). Despite growths in the country, the times at Perry continued along with normality. The fall play was The Crucible. A few of the twenty-two cast members included Robinn Schafer as Abigail Williams, Greg Wiles as John Proctor, Ralph Foward as Reverend John Hale, and Michelle Moye as Elizabeth Proctor. This tale of the Salem witch trials took the Perry Meridian stage by storm (Passages IX 14). On October 6, 1981, Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, was assassinated. This was the eighth anniversary of Egypt’s surprise attack on Israel. A young officer in Cairo approached Sadat. Expecting a salute, Sadat was quite alarmed when the officer had a grenade instead. After the first attack, guns and grenades were used by surrounding men to insure death. As soon as the fighting subsided, Sadat was rushed to surgery. Eventually, the doctors pronounced him dead. His successor was Hosni Mubarak (Passages IX 40). The tragedy did little to halt Perry activities. The three days of Homecoming events continued. Concerts helped to accentuate the theme of “Give My Regards.” The parade and football game were also big parts of the celebration. The winners of the float competition were the seniors, and the club side of the competition was taken by The National Honor Society. Homecoming was ended with a dance following the game. Tony Milto and Kim Bunge were crowned as king and queen. All of the excitement was intensified as Perry conquered Ben Davis 35-7 (Passages IX 27-8). The New Year started off with a blaze on January 23, 1982, when a student deliberately set fire to a junior’s locker. At 10:23 that morning, all students left the building. By the time the fire department showed up, the fire had been put out (Hulquist 1). In addition to Perry’s own mini-crisis, the crisis in Poland directly affected Perry Meridian. Mr. Ron Cunningham’s class discussed the issue and decided to send aid to the economically struggling country (Jenkins “Poland Crisis Affects Us” 2). Perry was facing their own struggles in January as they tried to find a replacement president on the school board. The hopeful replacement for the retiring Mr. Poppa was Tom Coahran. The Perry Board only had one month to make their decision before the Circuit Court Judge would take control (“Poppa’s Replacement Sought by Perry Board” 1). The country’s President made an appearance on February 9, 1982, to speak in Indianapolis. President Reagan spoke about budget cuts, but the people were concerned about the effect on unemployment rates. Reagan also showed an interest in empowering the states (Passages X 37). On February 12, a fifteen year-old freshman girl gave birth to a baby girl in the bathroom by the science hallway at 10:35 a.m. The Perry Township Fire Department was called, and thankfully, neither mother nor child was injured. The mother said that she was not aware of her pregnancy, and her family did not know either (“Teen Gives Birth in School Restroom” 20). That month in sports, the wrestlers traveled to Market Square Arena to compete at the individual state meet. Dan Jenkins had won sectional, regional, and semi-state titles during the season. The other state competitor, Mike Dickey, got second in his weight class. Tracy Martin nearly made it to state, placing fourth in the semi-state (Wright “Wrestlers Going to MSA” 1). The drama department, too, had a good month. The students performed “Bye, Bye, Birdie” for their musical on February 18, 20, and 21. The cast included Brent Tilson as Conrad Birdie, Antoinette LaRosa as Kim MacAffee, Michelle Moye as Rosie Almarez, Jeff Newkirk as Albert Peterson, and Missy Jenkins as Mae (Jenkins “Tilson top billing Bye, Bye, Birdie” 1). On March 13, Tom Morwick of the boys’ gymnastics team won state on still rings with a 9.0. The team placed sixth overall. The individuals who attended were seniors Tom Morwick, Kevin Martz, and Steve Armstrong and Junior Dan Fagan. The high score of this team was 122 at Columbus East (Montgomery 8). The girls, too, had a great year in the state competition. They won their fourth state title in five years on April 3, 1982. The team’s coach, Connie Walters, received the coach of the year award. One member of the team who shone was senior Jenny Mills who placed third in the all-around competition and got second on bars. The other members of the state championship team were Kerrie Prentice, Kristen Dietel, Amy Wright, Jill Heidecker, Lisa New, and Sherri Reitmeyer (Freund 4-5). A convocation was held the next day for the girls’ exemplary performance (Passages X 123). Bill Fulton, a junior, recalled this win because the students were released for the rest of the day after the convocation (Fulton Personal Interview). During this period of athletic and theatrical success, the government was making important decisions. The Senate passed an anti-busing bill with a 57-37 vote. Then, the bill went on to the House of Representatives. The bill would prohibit federal judges from forcing busing for students more than five miles or fifteen minutes away from the school. Perry would be greatly affected by this change because all students bused to Perry were more than twice the distance of these newly proposed numbers (“Bill May End Busing” 3). However, students did not have much time to focus on the political battle occurring. School life continued as normal with the spring play being presented in early May. The cast of “Pride and Prejudice” was led by Michelle Moye playing Mrs. Bennet and Brent Tharp as Mr. Bennet (Gammons 1). The prom was quickly approaching, as well. The theme was “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger with the colors of pink and lilac. The bash on May 14, 1982, had a band named “Just Friends” for their entertainment. Jim Kidwell and Susan Spencer were the king and queen of this prom held at the Athletic Club downtown with After Prom at the boys’ club (“Athletic Club is scene for junior hosted prom” 1). Another important senior event was the Mini Olympics. The teams composed of five girls and five boys each included the Pac Men, Taste Buds, Plunger Patrol, and Preppies People Eaters. The winner of the competition was Kool-Aid and the Gang, but the sought-after best costume award went to the Pac Men (Passages X 20). Amidst the social excitement, twenty-seven seniors were given academic letter sweaters (Passages IX 175). Also, the top fifty seniors in the class of 498 received gold tassels at their graduation. Leading this group was Rick Clements, the valedictorian, and Anthony LaRosa, the salutatorian (“Top seniors get gold” 1). The senior awards given out included the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Award given to Lorie Ritterskamp. Also, the I Dare You Leadership Awards were given to Stacey Need and Bill Fulton. The DAR Good Citizen Award was received by Richard Clements. The National Merit Scholarship Finalists were Richard Clements, Diane Grove, and Anthony LaRosa. The winner of the all-school spelling bee was Scott Shover, and the Something Extra Award of 1982 was won by Robinn Schafer (Passages X 24-5). Along with the school-given awards, the seniors got to hand out some awards of their own when they voted on the Most Likely To… Awards. Most likely to succeed was given to Mee Wonn Rhee. The prestigious most likely to become president was given to Anthony LaRosa. Rick Clements came up second in both of those categories. On the other hand, most likely to end up in a crazy farm was received by Mike Mariner (“Seniors Most Likely To…” Focus. May 17, 1982 6). The students voted on their favorite movies for the yearbook and the top five were “Private Benjamin,” “Mother’s Day,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Urban Cowboy,” and “Friday the 13th.” Their top five songs were “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC, “Time For Me To Fly” by REO Speedwagon, “Lady” by Kenny Rogers, and “Hells Bells” by AC/DC. They also contributed their favorite post-game hang outs. Those included Godfather’s, parties, Pizza Hut, home, and Noble Roman’s (Passages VIII 80-81). As the school year had drawn to a close, an exemplary Perry Meridian student, Jane Hildebrandt, placed first at the “500 Festival of the Arts” for one of her paintings. She was in the Reflections Project, and she was awarded an art achievement award. Her artwork earned her a place in the 1981-82 edition of Who’s Who among American High School Students (Passages X 47). Over the summer, Melanie Campbell, 1982 graduate, was announced the Marion County Fair Queen. Also, Trisha Dunn, 1983 graduate, was the queen of Greenwood’s Old Settler’s Festival (“News Briefs” Focus September 17, 1982). The year was composed of much excitement, from the not as thrilling busing coverage to the exciting fourth girls’ gymnastics state championship. The year of 1981-82 could be considered anything but dull. The racial tensions, athletic successes, dances, theatrical performances, deliveries, and infernos composed a memorable atmosphere for all of Perry Meridian. Works Cited "Athletic Club is scene for junior hosted prom." Focus. April 16, 1982: 1. "Bill may end busing." Focus. March 19, 1982: 3. Bondi, Victor. American Decades: 1980-1989. Detroit: Manly, Inc, 1996. 26. Freund, Terri. "Girls keep up tradition." Focus. April 16, 1982: 4-5. Fulton, Bill. Student. 1979-1983. Personal Interview, April 11, 2007. Gammons, Kevin. "Curtain call for Spring Play." Focus. April 30, 1982: 1. Hultquist, Todd. "Locker inferno sends students shivering." Focus. February 12, 1982: 1. Jenkins, Missy. "Poland Crisis affects us." Focus. January 20, 1982: 2. Jenkins, Missy. "Tilson top billing Bye, Bye, Birdie." Focus. January 20, 1982: 1. Kallen, Stuart A. A Cultural History of the United States Through the Decade the 1980's. San Diego: Lucent Book Inc., 1999. 67-69 Montgomery, Jessica. "Gymnasts meet State." Focus. March 19, 1982: 8. "News Briefs." Focus. September 17, 1982: 2. Passages VIII: Pride Sounds Out. Minneapolis, MN: Jostens. 1981. Passages IX: Moving Experience. Minneapolis, MN: Jostens. 1982. Passages X: Take Ten in Production. Minneapolis, MN: Jostens. 1983. "Poppa's Replacement Sought by Perry Board." The Spotlight. January 22, 1981: 1. "Seniors Most Likely to…" Focus. May 17, 1982: 6. "Teen gives birth in school restroom" Indianapolis Star. February 13, 1982: 20. "Top seniors get gold." Focus. March 2, 1982: 1. Willsey, Melinda Peterson. Student. 1978-1982. Personal Interview. April 10, 2007. Wright, Scott. "Wresters going to MSA." Focus. February 19, 1982: 1.