82-83 1982-1983 The next year at Perry Meridian started off a little more smoothly. There were no news stations and no armed guards. However, the national news teams had something to talk about. In September of 1982, as schools were just opening, the National Football League players went on strike. They believed that the pay gap between themselves and the owners was too great. The players did not feel they were given enough money; so, they decided to do something about it (“Strike, NFL” 3). Unlike the National Football League, Perry’s school year started off fairly normal. Freshman and sophomores took four required semesters of English. After that, there was a list of English electives that could be taken. They ranged from Bible literature to humor to mass communications. Also, three foreign languages were offered at the Perry building: French, German, and Spanish (Passages IX 64-76). Students could be bused to Southport to take Russian. The class made national news because the teacher, Mr. Floyd Chamberlain, was the only Russian high school teacher in the country (“News Briefs.” Focus. April 30, 1982 3). The business law classes did a fun activity called mock trials. Denise Gritton McClanahan, ’81 graduate, remembers these mock trials very well. It was one of her favorite scholastic activities (McClanahan Personal Interview). A new addition to the curriculum was the freshman remedial English class taught by Mrs. Beverly Hollandbeck. It was started with the specific intention to raise reading levels. Thirty students were split up into three classes for the first year. Southport, too, participated in this new program (Wright “New Frosh Class” 3). The class officers for the graduating class of 1983 were Reed Park as president, Bill Fulton as vice president, and Amy Wright as secretary-treasurer. During an interview at the beginning of the year, Park expressed his desire for junior-senior convocations. It was his first time being class president, and he seemed up for the challenge. Supporting him in the other classes were junior president Rick Burgett, sophomore president John Knabel, and freshman president Becky Trieff (Shover “Presidents Look to Future” 1). In October, the Brain Game team was taking off. They were very competitive and were participants in one of the most intense televised Brain Game competitions of all time. There was a long sudden-death showdown that eventually led to Perry’s demise at the hands of Brebeuf. This same month, Mr. Ron Cunningham was one of six teachers nominated as an Outstanding American History Teacher (“News Briefs.” Focus. October 8, 1982 3). Not only were teachers gaining recognition, the honorary journalistic society, Quill & Scroll, initiated fourteen of Perry Meridian’s students in October 1982. The seniors nominated for contributions to the yearbook staff were Heather McGlynn, Brian Wheeler, April Hollis, Rob Skorjanc, and Suzanne Boyle. The juniors were Leah Cross, David Shutz, Keith Cooper, and Kristen Muller. In addition to the yearbook staffers, there were five senior members of the newspaper who received an invitation to the society. Those were Bill Fulton, Kevin Gammons, Karen Kistner, Scott Shover, and David Wright (Wright “Quill & Scroll Chosen” 3). One of those members, Bill Fulton, made a special note about how great the staff of the Focus was in the 1982-83 school year (Fulton Personal Interview). Another prestigious society that students can be admitted to is the National Merit Scholars. This year, there were eight semifinalists. They included Bill Fulton, Laura Hazelwood, Mary Miller, Stacey Prange, Scott Shover, Mary Traylor, David Wright, and Lisa Yen (Troth “National Merit Semifinalists Named” 1). The theme of homecoming ’82 was “That Good Ole Falcon Country.” The school held a pop concert on October 13 with Then and Now Singers and The Silvertones singing country songs. The parade took place the day after the concert, and the seniors took home the title of best float. Perry Meridian played Manuel and unfortunately lost 30-40. Right after the game, the dance took place in the school’s foyer. The king and queen of this event were Rod Ingalls and Peggy Raymann, respectively (Kristan Johnson 1). After the excitement of homecoming, it was time for a bit of cultural learning. At the beginning of November, a French Cultural Ambassador named Gerard Lombardi came to visit Perry with the agenda of teaching all about the French culture. The event sponsored by Indiana University was centered on French history, politics, social and economic problems, media, music and art, and fashions. It was a learning experience for all (Gorbett 2). Another cultural event at Perry was the production of the fall play. This year, the choice was “The Paper Chase.” It was Connie Sabo’s directorial debut, and she did a magnificent job. The cast included Michelle Perry, Terry McWhirter, Kurt Ihrig, Jim Peterson, Karen Spencer, and many more (Troth “’Chase’ Features Large Cast” 1). In order to boost grades, a new incentive was suggested in November of 1982. The grade party is still a fixture twenty some years later. In order to attend this bash, students must raise their grades after the nine weeks mid-term, have no F’s, and be on the A or B honor roll. To heighten the reward, students even got to miss school for the celebration. It was held during homeroom, fifth, and sixth period. The parties were held on January 28 and February 4 by grade levels. Music, sports, and refreshments were provided. There was even a live Perry Meridian band, Mainstream. Students and teachers alike praised the success of the parties (Fulton “Perry Throws Bash for Those Who Make Grades” 1). As grades were awarded, sport victories were recognized. Kathy Ellett was one stand-out athlete of 1982-83. On November 6, the senior placed fifth at the cross country state competition. During her running career at Perry, she set an unprecedented fourteen cross country course records. Also, she placed third at a Junior Olympics meet. The previous summer, Ellett even participated in the National competition held in Texas. Her stunning performance won her a ninth place. For this list of accomplishments, Kathy Ellett received the Greenwood Seratoma Outstanding Athlete Award (Trieff “Ellett Places 5th in State” 6). Despite progress made inside the walls of Perry Meridian, the country, as a whole, was faltering. The year of 1982 had brought a national crisis in unemployment. In November, there was a staggering 10.8% unemployment rate or approximately twelve million people without work in the United States (Sheils 30-1). The atrocities caused the social security system to borrow money for the first time in history. In addition, inflation slowed to five percent, and the prime lending rate was down to 11.5%. One reason given for unemployment was the switch from hands-on jobs to more electronically driven workplaces (“A Deepening Shadow of Unemployment” 27-8). This electronic movement was sometimes referred to as “the great computer frenzy.” It was very controversial, not only because of its job-stealing potential, but also because its price caused quite a stir among many parents who felt that maybe learning computer skills were a waste of their student’s time (Williams 68). However, three million personal computers were sold to customers throughout the country. Along with computer successes, there were many other advances in technology around this time. In Utah, Barney Clark received the first artificial heart on December 2, 1982. Unfortunately, the new plastic heart did not save Clark’s life, and he died less than four months later. The launching of the first satellite by Columbia was another unprecedented accomplishment of 1982. One explosion onto the market was the incredibly popular video game industry (High-Tech Miracles.” 29). At the end of 1982, the public started to discuss the proposed changing of Perry Meridian’s graduation requirements. The number of credits and core classes was going to be upped. In the end, the change did occur, but the new policy did not go into effect until the following school year (“Public Hearing Regarding Graduation Requirements” 4). Around the same time, Leonid Brezhnev of the USSR passed away due to heart failure. Under Brezhnev’s rule, the USSR had experienced eighteen years of semi-peace. His replacement was Yuri Andropov. At this time, the Soviet Union was quite unstable. The world was not sure how the transition would go over (“The Changing of the Guard” 25). Some signs of instability include the bombing of Hyde Park in London by an IRA bomb and the fighting between Israel and the PLO (“Murder and Sudden Death” 31). On a lighter note, 1982 was a great year for entertainment. “E.T.,” “Ghandi,” and “Tootsie” were the top three movies of the year, respectively (“E.T. Phone Tootsie” 33). Music was a great part of the culture and took up a lot of students’ free time (McClanahan Personal Interview). Earlier in the year, Perry Meridian students had a survey to choose their favorite albums. The top three were Journey “Escape,” Foreigner “Foreigner 4,” The Rolling Stones “Tattoo You,” Ozzy Osborne “Diary of a Madman,” J. Geils Band “Freeze-frame,” Billy Squier “Don’t say no,” The Who “Hooligans,” Rick Springfield “Working Class Dog,” The Moody Blues “Long Distance Voyager,” and Dan Fogelberg “The Innocent Age” (“Journey Top PM rock group 4). Cats was the best Broadway production. In the television category, “Brideshead Revisited,” a show about an English Roman Catholic family, made the biggest waves (“E.T. Phone Tootsie” 33). As 1982 ended and 1983 was ushered in, some major changes were discussed in the halls of Perry Meridian. Meetings were held to discuss the building of a new gymnasium. At the time, there were eighteen school sanctioned sports teams, and everyone was feeling crowded in the space provided. The plans were made to build the new gym behind the science rooms. They would also transform the wrestling room into a weight room. Due to these changes, hallway construction would also be necessary (Fought 3). While making more room for teams, there were also some openings for new sports. The IHSAA made the decision to drop boys’ gymnastics after the 1982-83 school year due to the lack of fan support and the expense. This announcement really dampened the Perry boys’ gymnasts’ spirits for their upcoming and final season. They had no more drive to win (Gammons 6). Royalty welcomed the New Year in a special way over in Wales. Princess Diana brought her son William out into public for the first time. He was six months old and traveled with his mother and father on their trips. This was against custom, but that did not seem to change the parents’ minds (Le Moyne 31). Another new event for the media’s interest occurred in early February. Karen Carpenter died of anorexia nervosa on February 4, 1983. The country received a major wake-up call. She was a well-known musician of the 70’s, and her death really caught people’s attention. It was the first time that anyone in the spotlight had died from an eating disorder. Her death forced people to acknowledge the problems that were growing throughout the country. The disease had long been a problem, but until Karen Carpenter came along, no one took any notice of it. Since Carpenter’s death, doctors and therapists have done extensive research and studying to discover more about anorexia nervosa (Young www.atdpweb.soe.berkeley.edu). While some students spent their February swooning over their loved ones or mourning Karen Carpenter, Rusty Bertram spent his diving his way to a second place finish at state. On February 26, he received a score of 454.65. His victor, Janaka Biyanwila, was a Sri Lankan foreign exchange student at Bloomington North. His State winning score was a whopping 483.1 points. For Bertram’s exciting accomplishment, he was inducted into the Perry Meridian Hall of Fame (Trieff “Awesome Consistency Marks Rusty Bertram Career” 4). Not only did February hold athletic success, but the students put on a spectacular performance of “Oklahoma” late in the month. Anne Sanders directed this classic musical, and Mr. Slack helped with some of the production duties for the first time. Some of the leading roles were Jeff Qualkinbush as Curly, Susan Nevil as Laurie, Michelle Moye as Ado Annie, Marshall Moon as Ali Hakim, Jim Peterson as Jud Fry, and Tim Arndt as Will Parker ( Joy Johnson 1). As March rolled around, students were given the opportunity to show off their numerous talents. The Human Relations Club held Perry’s first talent show on March 15, 1983. Senior Gina Dearth was awarded best female singer. Best male singer was awarded to Tony Dotson, and the best dancer honor was given to Ron Carpenter. The show was seen as a success (Shover “Talent Show Makes Debut” 4). Another place that students got to show their skills was on the athletic teams. Sophomore Sherri Reitmeyer won the all-around competition with a total of 35.15 in girls’ gymnastics. This win was even more extraordinary due to Reitmeyer’s young age. Unfortunately, the team was defeated by Carmel at Regionals (Troth “Reitmeyer Wins All-Around” 7). March proved to carry another opportunity for students to flaunt their various talents. Perry held their spring play entitled “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” Connie Sabo directed this joyful comedy. The leads were played by Jim Peterson, Brent Allender, John Busche, Keith Cooper, Michelle Perry, Theresa Pettit, and Kurt VanEtten (Skorjanc 3). Jim Peterson, who played the dining gentleman, mentioned this performance of “The Man Who Came to Dinner” to be the highlight of his high school career (Peterson Personal Interview). A new club debuted at Perry in March of 1983 called Falcons Against Drinking and Drugs, or FADD. The club was modeled after SADD, Students Against Driving Drunk, a nationwide group who came to talk with the students earlier in the school year. The president of this new club was junior Lori Ritterskamp. Senior Angie McPhee helped her as secretary. The first FADD week was set for April 18-22. During the school week, speeches, videos, and pamphlets were used to spread the danger of alcohol and drugs. Then, there was a non-alcoholic party on the 22nd for FADD members (Fulton “New FADD Hits Perry” 1). Unfortunately, many students at Perry drank and did drugs. A survey of the class of 1983 revealed that seventy-five percent of students drank before they were sixteen. Also, sixty percent of seniors drank once a month. An astonishing twenty-five percent drank at least once a week. Of all the students, twenty-three percent admitted to having driven after drinking. Still, twenty-five states did not have any laws prohibiting the act of drinking and driving. However, Indiana did (“Sad Statistics” 5). Smoking was also a problem that started young.. A survey showed that fifteen percent of seventh grades smoked or formerly smoked (“Young Smokers Have Low Self-esteem” 60). More worrisome than either of those numbers is probably the statistics regarding drugs at Perry. One hundred thirty students were surveyed from all different classes. Of those students, seventy-one percent were positive that Quaaludes were available at Perry. This drug was estimated to be the second most used high school drug in the nation. Ninety percent of these students confessed to knowing someone who had taken Quaaludes. Of those ninety percent, fifty percent said that the person took Quaaludes on a regular basis (Shover “Are ‘Ludes’ Perry Problem?” 8). In addition to the alcohol and drugs epidemic occurring, the early 80’s marked the outbreak of AIDS. In 1983, about 1,300 people had been diagnosed with AIDS. Half of those people discovered they had the disease within the last year. The death toll grew to an astonishing 489. This makes the mortality rate of those diagnosed a disconcerting 37.6%. At that time, less than fourteen percent of those diagnosed survived more than three years. The victims of the disease had diversified greatly since the disease’s discovery around the year of 1980. The disease was no longer restricted to homosexual men. In 1980, there were only thirty-five cases of the immune system disorder. The next year, the number had more than quadrupled to one hundred sixty-eight. By 1982, there were five hundred thirty-three cases. AIDS showed no signs of stopping anytime soon, and as can be seen, it only sped up (“The AIDS Epidemic: the Search for a Cure” 74-5). In addition to the internal threat of AIDS, Reagan was worried about the exterior threats posed by countries, such as the Soviet Union. He introduced his new defense plan in April, and his laser cannon idea was sometimes referred to as the “Star Wars defense” (Reese 16-18). Despite the horrors of the world at the time, such as AIDS and fear of the Soviet Union, May brought around a time of joy at Perry because of all the exciting senior activities. Prom, of course, is a major event. The class of 1983’s prom had the theme “A Decade of Dreams,” as 1982-83 was the tenth year of Perry’s existence. Everything down to the music selection was a reflection of the past ten years. May 14, 1983 at the Athletic Club downtown was a dream for any lover of memories. The night was especially nice for Rod Grismore and Amy Wright as they were chosen as prom king and queen (Passages XI 26-7). A band called “Promise” was scheduled to play, and the dance cost a meager twelve dollars per couple. The colors were baby-blue and yellow (Medisch 3). Another important senior event was the Mini Olympics on April 29th. There were twenty-one teams who participated. On each of those teams there were five girls and five boys, which made for a total of two hundred ten participants. Teams included those such as The Rolling Stones, the Kellogg Kids, and the Scrubbing Bubbles. The events included the wagon race, obstacle course, water balloon toss, and three-legged race. The winners were the Gumfighters, but the winners for best dressed were the Garfields. There was rain during the events, but the students made sure not to let that dampen their fun (Bertram 3). It turns out that some of those fun-loving Mini Olympics competitors won some academic and citizenship awards, as well. The winners of the four years of service award were Jenny Carr, Tonja Hazelwood, and Missy Pullen. The U.S. Marine Corps Band Award went to Lisa Yen. Chris Fatheree was the recipient of the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Award. The DAR Good Citizen winner was David Wright. Project Leadership Service V was given to Laura Moore. The Hoosier Scholars were Bill Fulton, Michael McCormick, and Lisa Yen. The only Presidential Scholar Finalist was Scott Shover (Wilkins 1, 6). The Valedictorian of 1983 was Mike McCormick with a 4.0. The Salutatorian was Bill Fulton with a 3.976 GPA. The very prestigious Something Extra Award was received by Lisa Yen for 1983 (Passages XI 29). The seniors took a survey and voted on the three best movies of the school year. They chose “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “The Meaning of Life,” and “E.T.” The best television shows, in the seniors’ opinions, were “M*A*S*H,” “Hill Street Blues,” and “Fame.” Seniors also voted for the Most Likely To… Awards. Mr. Athletic was Mike McCormick, and Miss Athletic was Peggy Raymann. Miss Fashion was Mary Jo Hendker. Her male counterpart, Mr. Fashion, was Mike Schofield. The seniors voted that Rod Ingalls and Peggy Raymann were the best couple. The title of Mr. and Miss Popular, respectively, went to Rod Ingalls and Amy Wright. Most likely to surprise us at our reunion was awarded to Robert Innis. Miss Brain was Lisa Yen; while, Mike McCormick won the spot of Mr. Brain. The prestigious most likely to succeed was given to Bill Fulton. Most likely to become president was placed on the shoulders of Mike McCormick. When it came to the best memories, the seniors chose Prom ’82, Spring Break ’83 and Mini-Olympics (“Seniors Most Likely To…” Focus. May 18, 1983 2). The top five songs of the school in 1983 were “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Everybody Wants You,” “Dirty Laundry,” “Hurts So Good ” and “ You’ve Got another Thing Coming.” The top five musical groups clocked in at Journey, Rush, Loverboy, REO Speedwagon, and Van Halen (Passages X 42-3). After the class of 1983 graduated, there was still one more event to celebrate. On June 18, 1983, the Challenger took off carrying Sally Ride. This launch from Cape Canaveral was monumental because Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. NASA had operated twenty-two years, had thirty-six manned missions, and fifty-seven astronauts before Ride went into space. There were five women “mission specialists” selected for the training class of 1978 at NASA, and Sally Ride was lucky enough to get to go on this unprecedented Challenger trip. Two Soviet women had already been in space. Those were Velentina Tereshkova and Svetlana Savitskaya (Begley and Hager 36-39). The year of 1982-83 was special in numerous ways. Perry excelled in academics, athletics, and extra curricular activities. During this, the rest of the country enjoyed some entertainment highs and struggled under economic challenges. Whether the year was good or bad, people were drawn together in June as they saw Sally Ride make history. The future looked bright for the world, America, and Perry Meridian in 1983. Works Cited "The AIDS Epidemic: The Search for a Cure." Newsweek. April 18, 1983: 74-75. Begley, Sharon and Mary Hager. "Sally Ride: Ready for Liftoff." Newsweek. June 13, 1983: 36-39. Bertram, Tim. "200 Dress for Mini O." Focus. May 13, 1983: 3. "The Changing of the Guard." Newsweek. December 27, 1982: 25. "A Deepening Shadow of Unemployment." Newsweek. December 27, 1982: 27-28. "E. T. Phone Tootsie." Newsweek. December 27, 1982: 33. Fought, Tim. 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February 10, 1982: 60.