96-97 1996-1997 Many events occurred around the world in the fall of 1996. On September 3, the United States launched Operation Desert Strike against Iraq (Epstein 32). The month of October brought good news for those who like the news. Fox News debuted on October 7, 1996. Also, on the day before Halloween, fighting burst out in Africa resulting in the death of many Hutu people (Epstein 40). November brought a cyclone that hit India killing over 4,000 people. 95% of crops were destroyed (Epstein 43). After a first term in office, President Bill Clinton ran again winning 49.2 % of the popular vote, although his Republican opponent, Bob Dole, had been predicted to win (Feinstein 41). Clinton was the first Democrat to be re-elected since Franklin Roosevelt. Once he was President, he appointed Madeleine Albright Secretary of State. She was the first woman to hold the title (Feinstein 61). At Christmas time, Tickle-Me-Elmo was the most sought after gift (Epstein 23). These events, along with many others, helped shape the fall of 1996. Noteworthy events were also happening at Perry Meridian High School. Mrs. Sharon Keith, business department chairperson, was named Perry Meridian’s Teacher of the Year and was praised for her positive impact on students and her leadership in bringing new technology to the school (“1996-1997 School Year Opening Meeting” 13). The Homecoming theme was "Planet Falcons." Sadly, the football team lost to Decatur Central 21-27 for the homecoming game. This was the first year that there were no floats. There were also decorations on pushcarts. The junior class won the banner competition. The Homecoming King and Queen were Keshar Williams and Mandy Miller. The Homecoming court was escorted by their favorite teacher. The fall play, The Hobbit, was based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien and starred John Waymire and Josh Young. Along with hobbits, there were roles for elves, dwarfs, and trolls (Passages XXIV 27). Perry’s fall athletes performed well during the 1996 school year. Girls' cross country placed first at the Highland Invitational and 9th at semi-state. The boys' soccer team reached regionals for the first time in the school’s history and was one point away from the semi-state. Girls' soccer also had a good season, winning sectional (Passages XXIV 119). Senior Erika Quebe became the second golfer in Perry history to be a state finalist, thus kicking off a year of statewide recognition for the women athletes at PMHS (Passages XXIV 128). The girls’ varsity basketball team had an amazing year, winning the county tournament for the third straight year and ending the season with an impressive 26-1 record. Led by Miss Basketball candidate Katie Douglas, the Falcons were ranked first in the state and sixth in the nation (Passages XXIV Supplement 30). The school experienced Hoosier Hysteria at its greatest in the morning session of the semi-state when 7,000 fans packed the Southport Fieldhouse to see the Falcons beat defending state champions Center Grove in a thrilling 62-61 victory (Veleta 7). Senior Amy Frey’s thirty points helped secure the victory (Hurt Personal Interview). In the evening game, the Falcon’s dream of a state championship sadly ended as the Martinsville Artesians defeated the Falcons 65-52 (Passages XXIV Supplement 30). Despite the disappointing team loss, Amy Frey went on the following week to win the state three-point shooting tournament, having also captured the title in 1995 in the first year of the contest (Hurt Personal Interview). Former principal, Mr. Ed Henry, remembers the semi-state competition…“It was so exciting to see all of those people at Southport field house there to support Perry. If my memory serves me right, there have never been that many people in there before or since. It was when I was proudest of Perry and all that it stood for, not just athletics” (Henry Personal Interview). An Indiana All Star, Katie Douglas brought widespread recognition to the high school when she was accepted to play for Purdue’s women’s basketball team (Veleta 7). She later played for the Connecticut Suns and has a hallway, “Douglas Court,” named in her honor at Perry Meridian. Other successes in winter sports included the gymnastics team achieving one of its highest scores of the season in its sectionals (Passages XXIV Supplement 32). In addition, the swimming relay team of Mandy Dill, Alisa Ellis, Sarah Kriech, and Nichole Ellis broke the school record and qualified for the state. The boys’ swim team was also well represented in the state competition by Courtney Grove in the 100 yard butterfly and Neil Hastings in diving (Passages XXIV Supplement 46). Another milestone in Perry’s aquatic history, longtime Perry Township diving coach, Mr. Richard Brunoehler, retired at the end of the year (Passages XXV 136). The Special Olympics team also had a successful winter season after winning third place in the 1996 Special Olympics Summer games. The unified basketball team was state runner-ups. (Passages XXIV Supplement 44). Falcons also had an opportunity to showcase their talents in the arts and academics during the winter months. The 1997 school musical was Roger and Hammerstein’s classic, The King and I. Set in nineteenth century Siam, the story centered on the King, played by Joe Davis, and his children’s new teacher, portrayed by Kellie Brennan. The show dealt with several controversial issues, including slavery, prejudices, and stereotypes (Passages XXIV Supplement 8). This musical had special significance for co-director Mrs. Anne Sanders because her mother had recently died and having all of her nieces in the children’s chorus was especially comforting (Sanders Personal Interview). Making news for the speech team, Matt DeBoard and John Waymire qualified for the National Forensic League’s National Tournament in Bloomington, Minnesota (Waymire 2). In addition, the Mock Trial team finished an impressive second at the state under the leadership of Mrs. Linda Burdine. Adding to her many teaching honors, Mrs. Burdine received the Indianapolis Power and Light Golden Apple Award for teacher creativity for the 1996-1997 school year (Burdine Personal Interview). Successes in spring sports included the 4 by 800 meters relay team of Ben Rogers, Andy Smith, David Smith, and Jeff Patterson qualifying for the regional in boy’s track. Also, Absolom Bryant was a state competitor in shot-put. In girls track, the relay team of Amy Wagner, Alicia Walker, Beth Black, and Andrea Nordholt advanced to state after setting a school and sectional record. In addition, Charlotte Sanders broke the school record in the discus event and advanced to the IHSAA finals, while Alisa Nordholt qualified for the state by winning the sectionals in the 300 hurdles (Passages XXIV Supplement 41). The women’s varsity tennis team won the Ben Davis invitational and finished a fantastic season with a record of 13-3. The girls advanced to the semi-state but lost in the final round. Having already competed as a state finalist in golf, Erica Quebe accomplished an incredible feat by winning the IHSAA singles tournament in tennis (Passages XXIV Supplement 49). Like Katie Douglas, Erica was awarded a full scholarship to Purdue, one of only two full rides awarded to female tennis players by the school (Veleta 7). Led by all-state pitcher Amy Frey, the girls’ softball team had an outstanding season, with a final record of 17-3. A member of the Indiana All-Star team, Frey pitched every softball game except two throughout her four years at Perry Meridian High School (Hurt Personal Interview). Always a highlight of the school year for many upperclassmen, the 1997 prom was held in the White River Ballroom at the Indiana Convention Center. A major change from previous years was the use of a disc jockey instead of a band to provide the music. The theme was “Wonderful Night”, based on an Eric Clapton hit. Certainly, the climax of the evening was the crowning of Joshua Durrett and Jessica Poynter as King and Queen (Passages XXIV Supplement 12). The theme for the after-prom was “Hollywood Nights.” The Scrambler was the most entertaining ride, while dancing was the most popular activity (Passages XXIV Supplement 14). Two other major events of the school year were the Grade Party and the Mini-Olympics. The junior class won at Twister, a new competition at the party. The traditional phone booth stuffing contest was won by the sophomore class with fifteen people (Passages XXIV Supplement 17). The creative and sometimes bizarre costumes which had long been a tradition for the Mini-Olympics were eliminated this year. The teams wore everyday clothing in a matching color scheme instead. Many students were extremely upset about this change in this popular spring event. The yellow team won the best color competition because they painted their whole bodies with yellow paint. (Passages XXIV Supplement 11). At the annual honors night, Nichole Ellis captured the prestigious Something Extra award while the Eugene Echols Award was presented to Turran Hill (Passages XXIV Supplement 24). Senior class President Nichole Ellis, Vice-President Amanda Vice, and the secretary-treasurer Elizabeth Black presided over the 1997 commencement (Passages XXIV Supplement 4). Through an original poem, Keshar Williams delivered a memorable reflection on the class of 1997’s past four years. Emotions ran high during the ceremony as seniors said goodbye to their time in high school and looked towards the future. Valedictorian Whitney Tinley chose for her speech, “The World is Our Play-Doh.” Michael Spear’s address, “Tomorrow, the World,” emphasized how the graduates need to embrace the future (Passages XXIV Supplement 5). Whether competing on the golf course, the swimming pool, or the basketball court, Perry Meridian female athletes truly shined during the 1996-1997 school year. An outstanding year in women’s sports culminated with Alisa Nordholt being named Marion County Athlete of the Year in May. Having won an impressive eleven varsity letters, Alisa broke several records in track and was an invaluable member of the 1997 basketball team (“Top 20 Contributors” 7). Almost without exception, teachers and students of this era recall the 1997 girls’ semi-state as one of their most memorable moments while at Perry. Although Perry Meridian excelled in many aspects of school life during the 1996-1997 school year, the women athletes truly took center court this time and added their own chapter to the history of PMHS. Works Cited Burdine, Linda. Perry Meridian High School Teacher. Personal Interview. April 11, 2007. Epstein, Dan. The 90's: 20th Century Pop Culture. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000. Feinstein, Stephen. The 1990's: From the Persian Gulf War to Y2K. San Diego: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2006. Henry, Edward. Perry Meridian High School Principal. 1995-2006. March 26, 2007. Hurt, Amy Frey. Perry Meridian High School Student 1993-1997. Personal Interview. April 11, 2007. 1996-1997 School Year Opening Meeting. Indianapolis: Metropolitan School District of Perry Township, 1996. Passages XXIV: Building Blocks. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1996. Passages XXIV Supplement: Building Blocks. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1997. Passages XXV: Making New Footprints. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1998. Sanders, Anne. Perry Meridian High School Teacher. Personal Interview. March 28, 2007. "Top 20 Contributors". Focus. May 30, 1997: 7. Veleta, Dave. "Girls basketball flying high." Focus. December 6, 1996: 7. Veleta, Dave. "Quebe wins Purdue tennis scholarship." Focus. December 6, 1996: 7. Waymire, John. "Speech Students to Nationals." Focus. April 25, 1997: 2.