Local school leaders honor past with memorabilia display

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Indian Creek High School, after the 1967 consolidation of smaller high schools in Trafalgar, Morgantown and Nineveh.

School officials have recognized their school’s past, including throwback basketball uniforms during the winter, but Bruce Lucas, a 1955 Nineveh graduate, wanted a more permanent reminder in place.

A permanent display featuring memorabilia from each of the three old high schools has been built in the northwest corner of the high school gymnasium, and will be dedicated during halftime of tonight’s varsity boys basketball game, which is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.

Nearly a year ago, Lucas reached out to his longtime friend Greg Waltz, who is the president of the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school board, and made his pitch. Waltz followed up with Tim Edsell, the superintendent, and those two then put together a committee that included alumni from Morgantown, Nineveh and Trafalgar.

Lucas regularly brought artifacts with him to annual class reunions in the past, but he wants the items available for more people to see.

“This stuff needs to be some place where people can enjoy it, rather than just in somebody’s house,” he said.

The display includes six cases, with two for each of the three former schools’ histories. Because such an overwhelming amount of memorabilia has already been submitted, the school district is storing some items and the displays will periodically change so that more of the items can be viewed over time, Edsell said.

The project provides an important link to the area’s past that could have otherwise been forgotten over time, he said.

“It’s the heritage here of N-H-J, it’s the history, and we definitely want to honor and pay respect to all three townships and the great history that’s occurred here,” Edsell said.

The total cost to the district was about $26,500, including $16,000 for the glass cases, and another $8,000 for a protective mechanical screen that will be installed in a few weeks. Other materials were donated, and most of the labor that wasn’t handled by the school maintenance staff, including drywall and floor tile work, was also done on a volunteer basis by local professionals, Edsell said.

Multiple items have been sent to school officials, and some alumni have also collected artifacts from their own schools, including trophies, basketballs, team pictures, yearbooks and Future Farmers of America jackets.

Lucas provided an old eraser cleaner that he remembers using in third grade that he bought at an auction when the Nineveh school building was torn down. Joe DeHart, a 1954 graduate of Trafalgar, submitted his old varsity letter jacket, along with several other pieces belonging to him and his two brothers.

Other items have come in from all over the country. Assistant superintendent Andy Cline received an item in the mail from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a Morgantown graduate sent in an old baton from Valdosta, Georgia.

Those contributing to the growing collection hope that it will help give younger people in the area an appreciation for the rural schools that preceded Indian Creek.

“I think it’s really important for the students to understand the roots of Indian Creek,” said Don Schoolcraft, a 1966 Morgantown alumnus whose wife was part of that school’s final graduating class a year later. “Indian Creek was a consolidation of three competing schools. We had rivalries, but we had friendly rivalries.”

“They all have a little bit different history but a lot of things in common, and that’s what brought the school system together.”

At a glance

Graduates of the former high schools in Morgantown, Nineveh and Trafalgar, or anyone else interested in submitting memorabilia associated with those schools, can contact Nineveh-Jackson-Hensley assistant superintendent Andy Cline at 317-878-2100 to schedule an appointment to bring items in.

Smaller items can also be mailed to Cline at the school corporation office, 802 S. Indian Creek Drive, Trafalgar, IN 46181.

Author photo
Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.