05-06 2005-2006 Each new school year brings in new freshmen. Starting high school can be difficult, which is why a new club was made to help the incoming freshmen. Sponsored by Mr. Brian Knight and Mrs. Nikki Knight, the Link Crew wanted the incoming freshmen to be more welcome when coming into high school. One hundred freshmen attended the first meeting to meet their Link Leaders. Mr. Knight said, “Link Crew is a positive start for freshmen. It is a great way to help them feel they belong,” of the new club (Corbett 2). The club even sponsored faculty versus student games, such as volleyball. They played three games of volleyball, and the staff won by winning two of the three (Passages XXXIII 232). Nominated by Mr. Craig Potter, the honor of being the 2005-2006 Teacher of the Year went to Coach Mike Tomey, contributing much to the school as a teacher in the physical education department. It was his twentieth year at Perry. He works much more often than he has to, giving up his winter break and spring break vacations to keep the weight room open, and he usually only gets one week off during the summer. He says of the award, “It’s such an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as Ron Cunningham and Craig Potter” (“Tomey Named Teacher of the Year” 1). Homecoming 2005 presented the theme of “Falcons Save the Day.” However, the football team did not quite “save the day” during the homecoming football game. The Falcons scored one touchdown, but the six points was not enough to be victorious against the opponent, who scored twenty-six points (Passages XXXIII 38-40). Two Falcons were victorious, though. Paul Strack and Anna Cox were named the Homecoming King and Queen (Passages XXXIII 36). Perry Meridian speech team coach, Mr. David Moulton, was recognized by the Indiana High School Forensic Association in September for twenty-five years of speech coaching. He says that his most rewarding experience was “working with the students to help them discover their potential talents in public speaking and debate throughout the years.” His first year helping the speakers was 1981 (Broadfoot 1). In December, anchor Rich Demuro of Channel One visited Perry Meridian. Being a Channel One school offering Chinese as a foreign language, Demuro did a story on China’s economic boom and the economic gap shortening between China and the United States. Students Trent Brunic ‘06, Angie Konold ‘06, and Preya Dave ‘07 went on a shopping spree with all of the items bought made in China. Others were interviewed about how taking Chinese will benefit them since China’s economy is growing (Brenneman “Channel One Features PM” 1). At about the same time that Rich Demuro visited Perry, Michael Spears won the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award. Others nominated were Trent Brunic, Krissy Margason, and Paul Strack. Perry Meridian students then voted for leadership, dependability, service, and patriotism best displayed by the senior candidates (Shively 3). Starting off the new year was bad news. On January 2nd, an explosion at the Sago Mine in Sago, West Virginia, left miners trapped. Of the thirteen men trapped, twelve miners were killed. Eleven of them were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. One was killed from the blast. The last, Randal McCloy, Jr., was the only survivor of the explosion (“Report Blames Lightning for Explosion in Sago Mine” 33). Just six days after the explosion, more news came to upset the citizens of the United States, although not nearly as tragic. On January 8th, the stamp price was raised. The previous price of mailing a first-class letter was increased by two cents from thirty-seven cents to thirty-nine cents after the first increase since 2002 (Guy ). The new month brought good news with the 22nd annual Prelude Awards. The awards were given on February 3rd at a gala. Perry Meridian had one winner. Sean Seager ’06 won $250 with his second place finish in the dance category of the competition (Crews < http://infoweb.newsbank.com>). Probably the most controversial event of the year, Perry Meridian’s spring musical was “Ragtime”. The Tony Award-winning musical reflects social and racial divisions in New York in 1906. There were complaints coming from the school board about the language in the musical. Board members suggested adjusting the dialogue after the school board president, Marsha Hicks, was contacted by parents. Tiffany Clay ‘07 played the lead role of Sarah. She was against changing the words because the language “lends historical authenticity,” and she liked “how they didn’t sugarcoat everything (Murray “School Won’t Halt Musical With Slurs” B02).” Dr. Williams agreed and said that the musical is an important work. The directors of the school musical were Mrs. Sanders and Mr. Slack. When asked why this musical was chosen, Mr. Slack answered, “The passion of the story and the music and the fact we had the talent this year to do it(Murray “School Won’t Halt Musical With Slurs” B02).” After much protest, “Ragtime” was performed by the sixty-five students in the cast and more than twenty-five musicians on February 23rd with no changes to the racial dialogue addressed to a black character. The musical went on as planned, but all viewers attending were warned of the content (Murray “School Won’t Halt Musical With Slurs” B02). From controversial to unusual, in early March, a competition was held in the school cafeteria. In an informal contest, the contestants were challenged to eat as many cookies as they could consume. Michael Spears ’06 won the competition, eating fifteen of the delicious treats. Alex Tracy ’06 and Kevin Storm ’06 came in close behind Spears and ate thirteen and nine cookies, respectively. Michael won free cookies for a week from the cafeteria workers (Laugle 2). Among only sixteen students chosen across the country, two Falcons were picked to participate in Channel One’s Student-Produced Week, although Christy Sering ’06 and Denis Jimenez ’06 were not the first Falcons to join in on this annual happening. Blake Brenneman ’06, the cameraman of Student-Produced Week in 2005, helped Jimenez to create a video to be chosen as the cameraman in 2006. Sering was selected to be the channelone.com webmaster. The two had an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles on the week of March 27 to film the show (Lundy 1). Other successful Falcons of the year had to be the wrestlers. The Perry Meridian wrestling team, undefeated and ranked second in the state before the state competition, only fell to the number one team and eventual state champion, Mater Dei, by a mere two points. The varsity team finished the season with a 29-1 record. The junior varsity and freshmen teams went without a loss for the entire season (Holmes 10). With these great seasons, leading the team to plenty of victories, Coach Jim Tonte was named Coach of the Year by the Indianapolis Star (Brooks D06). Another successful athlete of Perry Meridian was Andre Owens ‘00. The Perry Meridian graduate was the first Perry Meridian boys’ basketball player to make it into the National Basketball Association. He began his career with the Utah Jazz. His former coach at Perry, Mr. Barnhizer, said, “Andre had a toughness no other player has had,” of the NBA player (“PM Grad Makes NBA” 6). The sports teams are not the only teams of Perry Meridian making news. The CyberBlue Robotics team competed in the FIRST National Competition in late April. The team traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for this competition. CyberBlue had already gone to two regional competitions and went to the finals in both. At the FIRST National Competition, the team won the Kleiner-Perkins-Caufield-Byers Entrepreneurship Award, which is given to the team with the most business-like structure in its program. CyberBlue was even on CNN in a news clip about the competition (Overton 3). Also winners, seniors Brendan McAvoy and Vanessa Pinna were named the 2006 Prom King and Queen. Before winning, McAvoy said, “I’m really excited! Being on a court was on my list of something to do before I graduate (“Prom” 4).” Pinna said, “I’ve never been nominated before, so I am very excited and will be happy either way (“Prom” 4).” The prom, themed “Fire and Ice”, was held at Primo’s Banquet Hall (“Prom” 4). As the school year came to a close, the awards were given out to the school’s outstanding students. Krissy Margason won the Something Extra Award. Also one of the “Top 20 Contributors,” she was involved in many activities, including being the Blue Crew secretary and co-managing editor of the Focus. She also committed her time to Link Crew, four musicals, three years of Then and Now, and four years as a Mayor’s Youth Council Member. After high school, she planned to major in elementary education at Ball State (“Margason wins 2006 Something Extra Award” 2). Anna Cox was named valedictorian of her class with a grade point average of 4.46; additionally, she was also the French Club president and an anchor on Falcon TV, not to mention her appearances in seven school plays and involvement with Link Crew and the National Honor Society. “Her ‘cwazy’ personality, randomness, intelligence, and friendliness” is what she was widely known for (“Top 20” 8). Christy Sering was the salutatorian with a grade point average of 4.4331, and, like her peer, Anna Cox, has been involved in so many other activities. Playing volleyball for four years and being the captain during the last year, being a co-president of the Art Club, and leading in a mural-painting were just a few of her contributions to the school. Added to this list of activities was being a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club, choir, and Channel One’s Student-Produced Week (“Top 20” 9). Another prestigious honor, the Eugene Echols Award was given to Marcus Triplett. He was very well-known for his contributions to the music department. His most memorable contribution was his lead part as Coalhouse Walker in Perry Meridian’s production of “Ragtime” in the spring. He was also the first chair in the school’s top orchestra (“Triplett Wins Eugene Echols Award” 2). Perhaps the biggest news of the year was the retirement of Perry Meridian’s principal, Mr. Ed Henry. He retired after nearly eleven years as the second principal of the school, which left both Perry Township schools seeking principals. Mr. Henry began teaching in the district in 1976, and being a Southport graduate in 1967, he has been a part of the community for years. He took over for Mr. James Head in 1995, after being an assistant principal. During his time at the school, Perry Meridian became more racially diverse. Superintendent Dr. Williams praised his leadership style (Murray “Perry Meridian Principal to Retire” S01). He also helped with the expansion of the Advanced Placement program, the block scheduling, the renovation of the building, and the increases in graduation requirements (Brenneman “Henry to Retire from PM” 3). “He was the face of the school,” said Kasey Kraft, salutatorian of the class of 2007 (Kraft Personal Interview). He left saying, “May the Force be with you,” as his final words to the school (Brenneman “Henry to Retire from PM” 3).