Lapel High School Class of 1983

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Ray Tincher

The year 1983 was a very busy year “newswise.”

Seatbelt use for drivers and front seat passengers were becoming mandatory. Studies showed that wearing seatbelts during an accident increased your chances of survival, or injury. Enforcement was difficult. Even today, “Don’t get caught sitting on your seatbelt,” brings laughter.

During World War II, the United States forcibly imprisoned about 120,000 Japanese, or people with Japanese ancestry living in the United States. They were released in 1946. It wasn’t until February 1983, when a special commission of the Congress of the United States released a report critical of the practice of Japanese internment during the war.

Also in 1983, throughout the local summer, many Midwestern states were affected by a severe drought that caused water shortages. However, a few days later, the lowest temperature on Earth was recorded in Vostok Station, Antarctica with -89.2 C (-128.6 F). In August, Hurricane Alicia hit the Texas coast, killing 22 and causing more than $3.8 billion (2005 dollars) in damages.

Two separate research groups led by Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier independently declare that a novel retrovirus may have been infecting people with HIV/AIDS. Britain’s Conservative government, led by Margaret Thatcher, was re-elected by a landslide majority. In November, the U.S. Senate Office Building was damaged by a bomb explosion intended to kill or injure senators.

Chrysler introduced the Dodge Caravan, the first “minivan.” Chuck Hull invented the 3-D printer. And in sports, Spain’s Seve Ballesteros won the 47th PGA Masters Tournament. Tom Sneva won the Indianapolis 500, and Neil Bonnett won the 24th running of the world 600, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Vanessa Williams became the first Black American to be crowned Miss America, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Back in Lapel in 1983, I learned of an incident involving a great buddy of mine – Sgt. Bob “Killer” Kowalski of the Indiana State Police. Two days before Christmas, “Killer” was patrolling I-69, when he came upon a car on fire, belonging to a couple from Ball State University. The car contained Christmas presents and their clothing. “Killer” immediately called the local fire department, and then proceeded to remove their clothing and Christmas presents from the burning vehicle. He saved their Christmas, which they were going to spend with their families. Trooper Kowalski took the couple to the Pendleton State Police Post, where they stayed until someone could come pick them up. My good buddy “Killer” died a couple of years ago, but this is just one of many incidents he was involved in, which he never bragged about. There are other Lapel area residents who could tell you some other remarkable stories about him.

The Lapel Community Blood Draw was very popular in 1983. They were proud of the “Gallon Club.” Rachel Riffey, Thomas Tudor, Paul Smith promoted the event. Other members included Daniel Lee, William Beamer, Susan Kilburn, Ronald Stephenson, and Howard Kinnaman participated. The “Gallon Plus” Members were Rev. Fredrick Pflugh and James Broyll. These people should be recognized for their achievements in giving such valuable blood to others in the time of need.

In April of that year, John Kluesner joined Porky Forrer, Dally Swinford and Scamp Dixon to play golf at Brockway Golf Course. It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon. He teed the ball up on the first hole and hit the ball. His ball hit the green and rolled into the cup, scoring a hole-in-one on the first hole. However, it was different from other golfers who have never had a hole-in-one; it was John’s third.

Riley Davis was honored by the Golden Glows as “Man of the Year” for his dedication to the senior citizen organization. Fredonna Clouse was honored as “Benefactor of the Year.” Each have given much toward the senior citizen group. Diana Haseman, daughter of Bernard and Ruth Haseman, served as page to Indiana Sen. William McCarty. Kevin Harney also served as page to Sen. McCarty. He is the son of Estel and Aleda Harney.

The only copy of the 1918 Lapel High School yearbook in the Lapel Branch Library is in bad shape. It is tied and stapled together and has a total of 84 pages. The 1983 yearbook is like new and contains 184 pages. This writer has failed to give credit to the students who dedicated themselves to producing the best possible yearbook. It is remarkable of the improvements through the years. With better photography, reporting and printing, it has been impressive. If you had any responsibility with your yearbook, pat yourself on the back. Your efforts and others have left a document that will be cherished by your classmates and others for years to come.

The 1983 West Central Community School Corp. made certain that everything possible is done to ensure the area of the best education. Gene Heniser was superintendent. The elected board members were Fred St. John, Ron Stephenson, George Likens, Davis Woodward, James Waymire, Kenneth Hosier and Jerry Cunningham. Daniel Davisson was district attorney. Another change occurred at LHS when Larry Galliher was appointed new high school principal, and Jerry Kemerly moved up to his assistant. Judy Lane was secretary, and Peggy Stephens was treasurer. Ruth Bahler was in charge of the school health system.

Other faculty members were Robert Adams, Robert Allison, Margaret Anderson, Michael Andrews, Steven Babbitt, Carol Bauner, Susan Bayley, Mike Brockert, Joe Buck, Joan Casey, Dorinda Cassidy, Richard Cassidy, Diane Clark, Pam Collins, Debby Davis, Janet Eisenbise, Woody Fields, Bill French, David Fuqua, Mary Gehlback, Trudy George, Catherine Gillespie, Denise Gray, Cheryl Hensley, Sue Hersberger, Jack Howell, Caroline Howenstine, Marsha Hudson, Dallas Hunter, Patty Huntzinger, Marianne Julius, Genevieve Lyons, Harold Markle, Donald McDermit, Sharon McDermit, Charles McNew, Brenda Mills, Sue Morris, Laura Pitcock, Lucille Rockey, Lorie Ruth, Larry Schuler, Gregory Scott, Joseph Shephard, Jean Sigle, Patricia Stewart, Julie Stoner, Lisa Storm, Carol Swan, Jeannine Terhune, Zoe Terhune, Donald Trisler, Anne Whalen and Cindy Wickizer.

Their yearbook states, “It was the fall of 1971 that 51 first-graders met to form the Class of 1983. There were 28 boys and 23 girls. They began a relationship which would carry them through 12 years.” The sponsors of LHS Class of 1983 were Charles McNew and Joan Casey. Scott Carter was class president, while Christopher Blessing was vice president; Julie Likens was secretary and Lana Hall was treasurer .

Other members of the class were: Michael Anderson, Brook Barker, Michael Bauner, Jeff Benefiel, Brent Bennett, Carl Borsody, Christine Bowles, Denise Bridges, Theodore Brinduse, Mitchell Brinker, Lisa Burris, Thomas Burris, Rick Busby, Jim Callaway, Kyle Campbell, Ronald Carter, Johnny Cates, Tracy Cox, Bobby Craft, John Davidson, Robert Dubuque, Bradley Duffy, Joseph Eldridge, Derrell Enyeart, Christine Falkenberry, Tangala Foster, Joseph Gadd, Cherie Green, Kevin Harney, Jama Harper, Susan Harris, Diana Haseman, Traci Hazeaker, Danny Helms, Ray Helterbrand, Kurt Hettinga, Eugenia Hughes, Gregory Joslin, Deanna Keffer, Gina Kepner, Kelly Kirchenbauer, Steven Lempereur, Dale Line, Daryl Looper, Thomas Maxey, Mike McCoy, Joy Michael, Michelle Mills, Teresa Mills, Rick Milner, Patricia Moore, Kimberly Norris, Barbara Partington, Sandy Peckens, Christopher Perry, Jamie Ramsey, Jack Raper, Paul Reynolds, Dee Richardson, Christina Riley, Tamara Riley, Amy Roberts, Terrie Roberts, Lynn Ryan, Tamara Sandefer, Michelle Schmitt, Marcia Sigler, Amy Simmerman, Daniel Snellenbarger, Mary Sprague, Joseph Stewart IV, Richard Stottlemyer, Tonya Swan, Lynn Van Horn, Catherine Whalen, Todd Whisman, Jenene White, Ginger Wiley, Brian Williams, Ronnie Wisnerand and Todd Zeiss.

The LHS varsity boys baseball team had a great year with a season record of 27-5. Many of those games were won with multiple margins. The boys track team had a building year. The girls track team had a great year, crushing most of its opponents. In golf, LHS was led by senior Ron Nunes, Ron Wiley and Phil Snyder, who took the Bulldogs to a 7-8 record and second-place finish in the WRC final tournament. Football was another struggle. LHS girls volleyball and basketball were more struggles. The varsity cheerleaders gave it their all in 1983.

The ultimate goal of the school is to prepare a well-rounded student to face the world. This is pursued by offering a wide variety of curriculum choices, but knowledge from textbooks might not be enough. It is important for students to learn to work with other students and teachers and to accept responsibilities. That is some of the goals of the other school organizations. At LHS, there are about 20 organizations from which students may choose. Students may belong to groups that interest them the most. There is Student Council for the government inclined; and the National Honor Society for the academic achievers. The Sunshine Society and future Homemakers for the girls. Future Farmers of America and 4-H for those interested in agriculture. Also, there are band, choirs, science, art, Latin, Spanish and French clubs, cheerleading, and helpers in the school office.

It is a time in every student’s life to get involved. Remember that old saying, “You only pass through this time in your life one time!” Make the most of your opportunities. You are building a foundation. I know it sounds corny but believe it. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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