Time Capsule Reveals Life At AWHS In The Year 1997

Student council members pose with the time capsule.

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Angela Hurst Dixon and Erica Artiaga Klinger both remember the impact of the July 12, 1992 tornado that hit Anthony Wayne High School.

“It lifted the roof off,” Dixon said of the F2 tornado.

The two 1997 graduates recalled the construction that followed, and how the lack of a senior commons or courtyard, media center, gym or auditorium created a closeness among their class that exists to this day.

“We were a very tight class and we all still talk to each other,” said Dixon last week, as she watched the opening of a time capsule that was sealed on October 12, 1997 – the same day as the rededication of the new Anthony Wayne High School facilities.

As the Class of 2023 and several alumni and retired teachers watched, student council co-presidents Amelie Blakely and Blake Luther opened the wooden box.

“I have this cylindrical thing. I don’t know what it is,” Amelie said, holding up a blue and white tube.

Teacher Christine Young explained that it’s part of a spirit stick – which juniors and seniors would battle for during homecoming games. In October 1997, the juniors had a rare win.

Another cylinder turned out to be a can with a homemade alarm set to go off in 25 years, but the battery ran out. 

“There seems to be a newspaper called the General’s Dispatch,” Blake said, holding up a sample. 

Students researched and wrote the articles for the weekly paper that was given out in the lunchroom, Young said. It included national, state and community news as well as high school happenings, such “Maumee beats Anthony Wayne” in football.

A hand-colored booklet with glued-in photos provided insight into popular music at the time, including Puff Daddy, Smashing Pumpkins, Hanson, Jewel, The Beatles and Dave Matthews Band, as well as scenes from the halls and lunchroom. A photo identified the Class of 2000 student council members as Brooke McVicker, Bronson Lipinski, Leah Gernheuser and Holly Coffey. At the end was a message: “I hope you people of the future have fun.”

Holding up a small case, principal Dr. Kevin Pfefferle revealed another item in the box.

“This ancient piece of technology is a VHS-C. You need a VHS adapter and a VCR to play that,” he said. Fortunately, he was able to find that equipment and play a portion of the tape.

As the seniors watched, the 25-year gap in technology – and video recording skills – was evident. The shaky, dark video walks viewers through the “new” Anthony Wayne High School, including the second-floor addition that became the freshman hallway and the art corridor that didn’t have lockers at the time. Despite the poor quality, the video gives a glimpse of the school, students and staff at the time. 

“That’s a very young and handsome Mr. Johnson,” Pfefferle said, as he stood next to science teacher Dave Johnson. Also seen on the video: counselors Jerry Reed and Karen Bixler, assistant principal Bill Baldridge and teacher Larry Burda telling the student with a camera not to get his backside.

While the students didn’t have time to watch the entire video, it will be edited and placed on the district website soon, Pfefferle said.

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