91-92 1991-1992 The 90’s represented a transition in technology and multicultural-tolerance. Computers were becoming more usable by the average person, especially by high school students. Cell phones were gradually being introduced. Racial acceptance was at its best in the century, and participation in non-prejudice practices was encouraged greatly. The United States was preparing for the turn of the century. This nationwide sweep of change was reflected in Perry Meridian High School. The school year of ’91-’92 was the beginning of a decade of change. One of these changes was a technology boost the FOCUS staff and Passages yearbook staff got with a new set of computers. This allowed the staffs to create the page spreads with more ease. The two journalism groups shared this computers and the photography dark room. Head of the FOCUS staff, Mr. Lyndon Wall, and head of the Passages staff, Mrs. Wanda Strange, both appreciated the new ease brought by the new computers (Passages XX 83). Another computer addition to the school was added in the IMC. Thirty new terminals were set up to allow entire classrooms to use them at once. Also, a CD-ROM encyclopedia collection was added for extra researching ease (Passages XX 73). More changes were in the extracurricular activities. Many students enjoyed the varied array of sports Perry offered. The extracurricular trend of the fall of ’91 was Powder Puff football. The all-female teams were created according to class, and there to cheer the girls on was the all-male cheerleading squad (Passages XIX 94). Falcons also cheered during the Homecoming Extravaganza of ’91. The topic on every Falcon’s tongue during the fall was Homecoming. The theme was “The Times They Are A’Changin”. Each class was given a decade beginning in 1940-which was assigned to the freshmen, and each decade dressed up accordingly. All of the festivities began on October 9 and ended on October 12. The first day was full of music and dancing. SRO, Then and Now, and the Jazz Band all performed for the Falcons to get their spirits flying. On the second day, the parking lot was crammed with students and parade floats all preparing for the Extravaganza. After the parade, everyone crowded into the gym for a pep rally and the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen. The winners were Lori Lee (’92) and Matt Casse (’92). The Homecoming football game on Friday was filled with Falcon pride and frantic cheering plus a win over the opposing team. The conclusion of the week was the dance. This was the first year that the dance was held in the cafeteria instead of the foyer, and the only complaint was that the sound wasn’t the same. There were also a lot of scheduling conflicts with athletic games, and it kept many students from attending the dance (Passages XIX 9). Also in the fall, the boys’ Varsity team had an 18-6 record, and they went on to win the County Suburban Athletic Conference with a 6-0 record. They dominated the Falcon Invitational Tournament. And the team placed in the top ten teams in the state. the Reserve had a 13-3 record, and the Freshman team had a 2-2 season. Tennis player Steve Brizendine ’94 accepted the title of First-Team All-State (Passages XX 134). The Falcons’ gymnastics team did handsprings around the competition in the ’91-’92 school year. At the Southport competition, the team vanquished the Cardinal rivals with senior Gina Hilz leading the team with first in bar, balance beam, and floor; she received second for vault. Coach Debbie Riedel’s team had a 9-1 seasonal record. The team placed fourth at sectionals, held at Warren Central (Passages XX 124). The girls’ basketball season was taking off very quickly. Each team set goals, and although the varsity didn’t reach their goal of going to semi-finals, they did end with a ranking of seventh in the state (Passages XIX 103). The football team soared to a winning season with an 8-3 record, and a Homecoming victory game. The girls’ volleyball team was one of success both on and off the court. They were a very close team, and together they achieved their goals for success. Nicole Tapak (’92) earned the First Team Academic All-State Award, and Colleen Doyle (’93) received the Sectional Team All-County and All-Metro Honorable Awards (Passages XIX 123). The Perry wrestling team had a very successful season. In the regular season, they tied with Southport, and the team sent several wrestlers through Sectionals. At county, the team was fifth out of fourteen teams, and they eventually went to state finals in the Market Square Arena. Eight wrestlers went to Regionals, with three left after Semi-State. Frank Hammond (’92) became State Heavyweight wrestling champion. Gill Journey (’93) finished as State Runner-Up, and William Cole (’93) was defeated the first round. The entire wrestling team finished its fantastic season as State Runner-Up (Passages XX 141). In the spring, the girls’ tennis team had a 12-5 season. After rolling through sectionals, the team became a finalist in the Regional (Passages XX 134). During her time as an athletic trainer, Elizabeth Wright remembers several strange occurrences during sports activities. During one football game, a football player was hit head-on. He went into a concussion, so Elizabeth called the paramedics. He did wake up before the ambulance got there, however. Another experience she had was when a swimmer hit his head on a diving board during a swim meet at Pike (Wright Personal Interview). Interesting times could be had at the theatric productions Perry performed. In February, Perry students put on the musical Fiddler on the Roof. The performances were on the 27th and the 29th. It starred Heather Breen (’94) and William McGee (’92) as Golde and Tevye. Mrs. Sanders and Mr. Slack co-directed the musical. The rustic sets were made by the advanced drama class and painted by the Art Club. The pilgrim-era costumes were made by the Advanced Drama class as well. The orchestra pit was conducted by Mr. Lehman (Passages XX 6). As a senior, Erin Miller was part of the pit for this musical where she played the oboe. This was her fourth and final musical in her high school career (Miller Personal Interview). Another tradition for Perry was, of course, prom. In the spring of ’92, Falcons danced the night away at the Murat Temple with a “Through the Eyes of Love” themed prom. Prom King Adam Carroll and Queen Hope Line were crowned that night. Afterward, everyone gathered in the school foyer for a wild and western good time at the after-prom (Passages XX 9). Good times were also had with the Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Linda Burdine was chosen as Teacher of the Year for the 91-92 school year. Her teaching style was thought by both staff and students to be original, creative, and very successful. She encouraged her students to participate in contests such as Edy’s Ice Cream Contest- her students won the Grand Prize- and the Indiana Business Education Association Statewide Promotional Contest. Rosendo Tansinsin nominated Mrs. Burdine for the award (Passages XIX 62). At the 1992 Academic Banquet, many more outstanding teachers were recognized by their students. The teachers that were honored were Mr. Al Boehm (nominated by Darren Wells), Mr. Ron Bolyard (Jason A. Short), Mr. Kelly Clore (Eric J. Stuckey), Mrs. Michelle Collins (Kathy S. Johnson), Mr. Ron Cunningham (Jennifer Auger), Mr. Dan Cunningham (Christy Burdsall), Mr. William Deal (Kara Lynn Deal), Mrs. Joan Ellis (Jill M. Zavela), Miss Kim Epler (Laura Sue Cram), Mrs. Ginger Faber (Clifford Leslie), Mrs. Carol Fischer (Mary Sheehan and Cormac John O’Connor), Mr. Rex Hedegard (Nicole D. Tapak), Mrs. Alma Higbee (Shannon M. Johnson and Rebecca Joseph), Miss Kathy Martin (Jose Vazquez), Miss Cindy McClain (Roger D. Horng and Martha Dinnage and Lynn Faatz), Mrs. Anne Sanders (Reka E. Schoegl), Mrs. Mary Shambaugh (Brenda Norman), Mr. Michael Slack (Jennifer R. Waskom and Kristine Sickels), Mrs. Wanda Strange (Joanna Wright and Chun-An Chen and Mark Li-Yuan Su), Mr. Rick Swengel (Jill D. Ragsdale), Mr. Steve Taylor (Gerald Hochgesang and Lori ann Liming and Karyn Michelle James), Mr. Michael Tomey (Jeffry W. Shetterly), and Mr. Lyndon Wall (Stacey Erin Hanrahan) (Passages XX 28). Students were recognized as well. At the PTA Honors Night, Falcons of great achievement were awarded. Mr. David Gerkensmeyer, science department head, recognized Mason Gallmeyer (’93) as the science fair winner. Prelude Award Finalists were Dan Webb (’92) with instrumental, Teresa Lo (’94) with instrumental, Erin Wilson (’95) with dance, and Kelly Gooch (’92) with visual arts. The Valedictorian, Mark Su, and the Salutatorian, Elizabeth Dinnage, were honored by Principal James Head. Reka Shloegal earned the Something Extra award, and Clifford Leslie took home the Eugene Echols award. Department awards were given to Kelly Gooch for Art, Andrea Decker for Business, Elizabeth Dinnage for Foreign Language, Cheryl Straub for Home Economics, Astara Zayas for Language Arts, Clifford Leslie for Mathematics, Darren Vincent for Music, Ryan Moran for Physical Education and Health, G. Phillip Hochgesang for Science, and Clifford Leslie for Social Studies. The United States Coast Guard Academic Appointment went to Greg Dial, and the United States Military Academy Appointment went to Jeffry Shetterly (Passages XX 24-25). For many students, Perry Meridian was not just a high school. The education they got there carried them through later parts of their life, and the people they met influence them even today. Elizabeth Wright wanted to be a physical therapist, so she was an athletic trainer in her senior year (Wright Personal Interview). Jamie Frye, a first-grade teacher at Clinton Young, utilized the Cadet Teaching class offered at Perry to help her gain experience doing what she always knew she wanted to do; she’d been teaching her little sister ever since she could remember. Not only did it push her forward academically, but she also met her husband at her junior prom, and two of her friends she’s had since middle school she still keeps in touch with (Frye Personal Interview). Erin Miller, likewise, stays in touch with three of her friends. They had grown up together and have been friends since kindergarten (Miller Personal Interview). Teachers and students alike were affected. Mr. David Gerkensmeyer, science teacher since the school opened in 1973 and science department head since 1984, recalls that the students who participated in the science fair had a tremendous impact on him, as well as the students he had in his AP Biology classes (Gerkensmeyer Personal Interview). Life for Falcons was not all work and no play, though. In the 1990’s, the social scene for Perry students was wherever friends were. In a survey taken by the Passages yearbook staff, most Falcons spent time with friends, at parties, or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. These groups chose the Greenwood Park Mall and Movies 8 as the most popular hangout. Jamie Frye worked at Applebee’s and The Gap for some extra cash, both places in or near the mall (Frye Personal Interview). During the school year, football games were also a cool place to be. Individuals also said that food joints that served cheap, good food were also a frequented place by Perry students. Ideal places were Taco Ball and Waffle House (Passages XX 40-41). In the ‘global’ theme of the 1991-1992 school year, the administration organized a multicultural luncheon. The event was held in the cafeteria, where guest speakers represented several cultures, such as those in Africa, Italy, and China. Local restaurants donated foreign food to be sampled by participating students, as well. In a different culture-mingling event, the International Banquet was hosted by the foreign language department. Perry students played games and chatted with other students fluent in other languages (Passages XX 2). Perry was not only attuned to the cultures of the world, but also attuned to current events. The fall of 1991 began with a huge relief for Perry students. After much tension, Saddam Hussein had finally withdrawn his troops from Kuwait (McConnell 26). The beginning of the Gulf War definitely impacted the school, and although no one was afraid, it was widely discussed in the school (Wright Personal Interview). Even more widely discussed was the notorious removal from office of the Class of ‘92’s class president. “My class is infamous for that,” commented Erin Miller about her class president. The Class of ‘92’s president wasn’t a favorite of Mr. Head’s, and towards the end of the year, when it was obvious that the student would fail his classes, Mr. Head removed him from his office. Obviously, a class without a class president is a bit awkward to run, and even today there are organizational issues. During gradation, the normal space for the class president’s speech was skipped over. The class did not have a five-year reunion because there was no one to plan it, but the ten-year reunion was organized by the class secretary and another alumnus (Miller Personal Interview). During the ’91-’92 school year, Mr. Head was the principal of Perry Meridian, and Mr. Henry was the vice principal. On one occasion, Mr. Head was absent, so Mr. Henry took his place narrating the formal daily announcements. Mr. Henry was extremely popular with the students, so everyone was excited to hear him over the PA. However, at the end of the announcement, he closed with “May the force be with you” in a reference to his favorite movies, Star Wars. Mr. Henry did not make another announcement in his time as Vice Principal (Miller Personal Interview). In the early 90’s, Perry was known to be a “class act” school (Coy Personal Interview). Southport was the obvious inner-district rivalry, but the schools were not much different. Center Grove and Roncali were the biggest competitors out of the district (Frye Personal Interview). From the end of the Gulf War to the International Banquet to the move of the Homecoming Dance from the foyer to the cafeteria, the school year of 1991-92 was a year of welcome change. Perry Falcons witnessed subtle and large alterations to their nation, their culture, and their school. New technology, such as the computer additions to the journalism department and the IMC, shifted the way students learned. Welcoming cultural acceptance, such as the International Banquet and multicultural luncheon, would set the pace for a new generation. Time spent at Perry was not only an enriching academic experience for students: it was an impression on their hearts, making memories that no one could forget. Works Cited Coy, Jennifer. Perry Meridian High School Alumnus. 1987-1990, Personal Interview. April 9, 2007. Frye, Jamie. Perry Meridian High School Alumnus. 1993-1997, Personal Interview. April 9, 2007. Gerkensmeyer, David. Perry Meridian High School Teacher and Department Head. 1973-1999, Personal Interview. April 15, 2007. McConnell, Tandy. American Decades 1990-1999. Farmington Hills: Gale Group, 2001. Miller, Erin. Perry Meridian High School Alumnus. 1989-1992, Personal Interview. April 14, 2007. Passages XIX: 1991. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1991. Passages XX: Rhythm in Blue. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing, 1992. Wright, Elizabeth. Perry Meridian High School Alumnus. 1989-1992, Personal Interview. April 14, 2007.