98-99 1998-1999 The 1998-1999 school year marked a milestone for Perry Meridian as the school celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary and also embarked on its first major renovation. A 25th Anniversary 5K Run and Walk was organized, with Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman presenting the kick off to the race, commemorating the anniversary (Heap 3). The renovation started with the building of a new physical fitness area and expanded locker rooms (Lang 1). With the faculty parking area moved to the student lot, renovation became stressful at times as parking spots became scarce, and the noise of the workers interfered with classes (Passages XXVI 2). Many seniors were also angered and felt as though their senior rights were being taken away. Along with the new parking design, four custodians were put in charge of directing traffic in the mornings, in order to straighten out traffic problems. Also, Perry’s football games were played at Manuel High (Passages XXVI 36). In three short years, there would be a hallway down the middle of the high school and a new IMC. The Art and Math departments were the first areas to go under construction. Extracurricular activities continued to flourish as Perry’s 1998 WTHR’s champion Brain Game team competed in the Indianapolis-Scarborough Peace Games. The team, consisting of Catherine Walsh, Nick Stadtmiller, Mike Lang, and Luke Webb, defeated Canada 495 to 245 (Lang 3). Meanwhile, the cheerleading squad won a first place at the Indiana Cheer Camp for the first time in the school’s history (Passages XXVI 118). Mr. Kyle Harrop and Mr. Kevin Durfee were the Perry Meridian High School marching band directors. At Southport High School, the band earned the chance to go to regionals, by receiving a division one rating. The marching band had to march in wind and rain and still received their best score ever. They competed against Ben Davis and Center Grove, who both had bands three times as big. At Jeffersonville, their winning streak came to an end (Koeppel 1). At the conclusion of the summer, longtime girl’s dean, Mrs. Betty Toombs, was named Perry Meridian’s Teacher of the Year (Lomax 2). In keeping with the year’s twenty-fifth celebration, the theme for homecoming was “Flashback to the Silver Seventies.” At the pep rally, Jason Feldhake and Julie Creasy were crowned King and Queen while Joe Davis and Nicole Kambarami brought the seventies alive with their entertaining retro disco dance. A highlight of the evening’s festivities was the “Cardinal Cremation,” the burning of a cardboard Southport cardinal. A break from tradition, the homecoming football game was held at the RCA Dome where the Falcons destroyed their Southside archrival by the score of 26-3. (Passages XXVI 8-9). The football team started the season 4-0 for the first time in the school’s history. The team was led by their “Blue Schteel” defense and standout, Ryan Short, who was voted Marion County Athlete of the Year in football (Passages XXVI 124). Other highlights of the fall sports season included the boys’ soccer team reaching the regional (Passages XXVI 132). Kyle “Shake-n-Bake” Baker led the state with thirty-six goals and broke the Perry record for the most goals scored both in a single season and high school career (Ancelot 6). The boys cross country team finished 8-3 and were three points short from qualifying for semi-state (Passages XXVI 121). Furthermore, the boys’ tennis team advanced to the regional, and their number one singles player, Brian Slack, advanced to the state finals (Passages XXVI 147). The fall cheerleading squad placed first in the regional, scoring considerably higher than the other squads (Conn 7). Led by Andrea Nordholt, Alicia Walker, and Sarah Oblon, the cross country team finished the season with an impressive 37-9 record and had one of the highest state rankings in the school’s history (Passages XXVI 122). Some Perry Meridian High School students went beyond school sports this year and gained recognition for their outstanding efforts. Andy Hillenburg was a graduate of Perry Meridian High School, working toward a spot in the IRL. This is a big feat considering he is thirty-six years old, an older age for race car drivers. He had trouble with his cars, as well as getting into NASCAR. He qualified for the Daytona 500, finishing twenty-ninth. Andy is the president and an instructor at the Fast Track High Performance Driving School at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, NC. A street in Perry Meridian High was named after him, in order to commemorate his efforts and persistence ( Cavin D08). Another famous falcon, Andre Owens, decided to sign with Indiana University during his junior year at Perry. He made verbal commitment prior to officially signing. Owens is a point guard at the height of 6’3”. Andre is the first Perry Meridian graduate to play for IU. Coach Mark Barnhizer encouraged Owens to play at IU and believed that Owens would be successful there and enjoy his college basketball years (Hutchins http://www.infoweb.newsbank.com). Perry also excelled in the arts and academics during the fall of 1998. Under the direction of drum majors Alex Amerman and Matt Rector, the Marching Band’s show, ‘Swingin’ USA, captured first place and won the award for the best auxiliary at the Terre Haute North competition (“New Year, New Band” 1). Also, Sarah Oblon was honored at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. as the winner of the National American Vision Art Award for her drawing of a lizard alphabet (Madsen 20). In addition, the ESI Government class, under the leadership of Ms. Rosie Kuntz, advanced to the state finals in the “We the People” competition after defeating Center Grove in the regional. For a second year in a row, a work by William Shakespeare was selected for the fall play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream starred Josh Grow, Rachel Oblon, Ashley Bergdoll, and Eddie Hesik as the leads of the forty-three member cast (Madsen 1). Benjamin C. Stengal was selected to go to the Peruvian jungle out of twenty high school students across America. He was going to participate in the Jason Project which worked on the ground of the rainforest as well as the canopy. Benjamin was active in marching and symphonic band. He was also a varsity swimmer and was in the top ten of his class (Falk http://firstname.lastname@example.org). The 1999 musical was Grease, starring Joseph Davis as Danny Zuko. Perry chose Grease as the musical this year to honor the twenty- fifth anniversary since it was the musical the school produced the first year Perry was open. Along with the musical, another singing program honored the anniversary. A special event occurred in which the leads came back and sang highlights from the past musical productions. Former directors Guy Rumsey and Don Rob were invited back and closed the program by singing with Mrs. Sanders and Mr. Slack “Our Children” from Ragtime. This song expressed the directors’ feelings that the former students on the stage were their children too and had left imprints forever on their hearts. This event was one of Mrs. Sanders most memorable and treasured experiences of her life. Social studies teacher Ron Cunningham commented that the performance “reminded me of why I enjoy teaching” (Sanders Personal Interview). A new phase of renovation began in November when construction moved to the large lecture rooms and the auditorium wings. In addition, the classes on the north side of the building had to be relocated (Pipkin 1). Vice Principal Mrs. Joan Ellis commented that she prayed for the safety of the staff and students during renovation because the building was very open and accessible. According to Mrs. Ellis, for the most part, the process ran smoothly because every detail was carefully planned (Ellis personal interview). Adding another change to the Perry scene, permanent photo identification cards became required for students to check out books and use the internet (Cressler 3). In addition, students’ accessibility to information increased substantially in the fall semester of 1998 when the Indianapolis-Marion County Library added full-text databases to its internet site, thus making this free on-line library accessible from public schools, homes, and work places (“New FT library to begin construction, web access to library now available” 3). This year’s Prom theme was “As Time Goes By”. Greg Wilson and Jacinda Bryant were crowned the ’99 King and Queen (Passages XXVI 3). The spring play was “Alice in Wonderland”. Starring in the play was Ashley Bergdoll as Alice. The Valedictorian for the class of 1999 was Tabitha Knerr with the Salutatorian being Katherine Stroud. Beyond the comforting walls of Perry Meridian High School, disaster struck in Littleton, Colorado. On April 20, two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, came to Columbine High School with automatic handguns. The two were dressed suspiciously in black trench coats with one goal on their mind: a planned attack involving guns and homemade explosives on students described by others as the minorities and the athletes. This attack was noted as a suicide mission when both of the men were found dead in the library (Weller 1). Twelve of their classmates and one teacher were dead after the two men swept through the school setting off explosives and sending bullets flying through the air. Twenty- three people were left hospitalized. A written note, by Harris, was found in the library near the two dead bodies of the attackers. Both boys were members of the “Trench Coat Mafia”, a local gang who were known for wearing black trench coats, owning their own guns, and disliking blacks, Hispanics, and football players (Guinness Book 459). The event broadcasted over television showing images of helicopters and ambulances using a sports field as a landing pad and officers taking cover behind squad cars. After the attack, schools nearby the suburb of Littleton were locked down for hours, prohibiting students from entering and leaving the building (Weller 2). Due to this severe attack, security all around the world was strengthened severely. At Perry Meridian High School, several security changes occurred. The teachers were now required to wear nametags all of the time, and security doors were put in the foyer. No one could get through the doors unless they checked in at the front office and got a pass first (Henry Personal Interview). The Euro swept into Europe on January first, landing in at a value of $1.16. After four months, it had lost ten percent of its value. But by July 26, 1999, it had regained strength and hit $1.72 (Guinness Book 458). In Africa, Nelson Mandela retired from the presidency on June sixteenth in Cape Town, South Africa. Thabo Mbeki became the succeeding president (Life: The Year in Pictures 51). Back in the United States, Eileen Collins was the first woman to command a space shuttle mission for NASA on July 22, 1999 (“United States History: 1951-1999” http://www.ebscohost.com). An important biological event happened in 1999. The Human Genome Project divulged that they had traced the chemical sequences of chromosomes to use gene therapy to cure diseases. It also gave doctors more insight into each individual person’s DNA (Feinsten 55-56). “Dr. Death”, Jack Kevorkian, assisted killing over 130 terminally ill patients. He received his prison sentence on April 13, 1999. Kevorkian acted as his own lawyer. He invented a “suicide machine” in 1988. Footage aired on November 22, 1998 showing Kevorkian killing Thomas Youk, a man with ALS. Michigan charged him with second degree murder. Kevorkian called no witnesses other thank the Youks. He was sentenced ten to twenty-five years (“Dr. Jack Kevorkian Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder http://galenet.galegroup.com). The nineties was a decade of change as the internet linked people together while growing tensions around the world drove them further apart. At Perry Meridian High School, these years were also a tremendous time of transformation as the school experienced major changes in its leadership, daily schedule, technology, and facilities while also facing new standards set forth by the state (Moulton Personal Interview). In addition, the student population became more diverse (Ellis Personal Interview). Yet, the faculty members found this era a fun, adventuresome time to be part of the school’s history while the students that passed through the halls of Perry would never forget the teachers, friends, and special activities which made this decade such a memorable time in their lives (Mitchell Personal Interview). Works Cited Ancelet, Jenny. "Baker: baddest man alive." Focus. November 6, 1998: 6. Cavin, Curt. "Hillenburg hustling for a shot at the big league." The Indianapolis Star. July 29, 1999. D08. . March 16, 2007. Conn, Lindsay. "Cheerleaders Dominate Regions." Focus. November 20, 1998: 7. "Dr. Jack Kevorkian Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder." Student Resource Center. . March 16, 2007. Ellis, Joan. Perry Meridian High School Teacher and Assistant Principal. Personal Interview. March 30, 2007. Falk, Sally Nancrede. "PM sophomore to study the rainforest." The Indianapolis Star. March 6, 1999. B03. March 16, 2007. . Feinstein, Stephen. The 1990's: From the Persian Gulf War to Y2K. San Diego: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2006. Guinness Book of the 20th Century: Millennium Edition. London: Guinness World Records, Ltd, 2000. Heap, Lisa. "Run/Walk entrants brave rain & cold." Focus. October 9, 1998: 3. Henry, Edward. Principal of Perry Meridian High School, 1995- 2006. Personal Interview. March 26, 2007. Hutchens, Terry. "Perry junior chooses Indiana." The Indianapolis Star. May 26, 1999. Sports: C05. . March 16, 2007. Koeppel, Marcy. "Band marching to Regionals." Focus. October 8, 1999: 1. Lang, Mike. "Brain Game Takes Peace Games." Focus. September 4, 1998: 3. Lang, Mike. "IMC to issue ID cards to students." Focus. December 4, 1998: 3. Lang, Mike. "Parking Problems Only The Beginning." Focus. September 4, 1998: 1. Life 1999 Album: The Year in Pictures. New York: Life Books, 2000. Lomax, Matt. "Toombs teacher of the year." Focus. October 2, 1998: 2. Madsen, Bethany. "Ah, the play's the thing." Focus. November 6, 1998: 1. Madsen, Bethany. "Oblon Wins Art Award." Focus. September 18, 1998: 2. Mitchell, Sandy. Perry Meridian High School Teacher. Personal Interview. April 9, 2007. Moulton, David. Perry Meridian High School Teacher. Personal Interview. March 30, 2007. "New FT library to begin construction, web access to library now available." The Perry Township Weekly. October 29, 1998. 3. "New Year, New Band." Focus. October 2, 1998: 1. Passages XXVI: Paving the Way. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing Company, 1999. Pipkin, Tim. "Construction isn't coming … It's Here." Focus. December 4, 1998: 1. Sanders, Anne. Perry Meridian High School Teacher. Personal Interview. March 28, 2007. Tatum, Josh. "Desegregation Ruling Overturned." Focus. September 4, 1998: 1. "United States History: 1951-1999." Student Resource Center. 1999. . Weller, Robert. "Mission." The Indianapolis Star. Wednesday, April 21: 1-2. Yates, Adam. "Perry conquers Trogans in Constitution competition." Focus. November 20, 1998: 3.