Libbey alumni, TPS seek plan for memorabilia storageWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Nearly 350 trophies, pictures and plaques from Libbey High School’s glory days rest in storage — and the school’s alumni are asking what will happen to them.
Edward Drummond Libbey High School rung its first bell in 1923 and its last class graduated in June 2010, when it was closed by Toledo Public Schools (TPS). Before demolition began Jan. 9, the trophies, along with their cases, were taken out of the building and put in storage, according to TPS.
Libbey High School Alumni Inc. (LHSA), a group seeking to keep the memory of Libbey alive, is planning to post an inventory of the memorabilia on its website, www.site.toledolibbeyhsalumni.com. This is so individuals who received trophies or their families can come forth and claim items.
“Say someone from your family won a trophy, and it’s in a box at TPS; you’d want that on your shelf,” said Warren Woodberry, a community activist who protested Libbey’s demolition.
As of now, the memorabilia is in a TPS storage unit with Libbey-Owens-Ford, said Lisa Sobecki, vice president of TPS Board of Education. Two display cases, also rescued from Libbey, house 18 Libbey trophies in a hallway at the board.
Larrie Baccus, president of LHSA, said he has not contacted TPS about posting the list and doesn’t plan to.
“We didn’t feel like we would get any results calling them for a bunch of lip service,” he said. The inventory had not been posted by press time.
Sobecki said she hopes the group contacts TPS before posting the list.
“I hope they would reach out to the school district. There’s got to be coordination of making sure [the trophies] are going to the correct individual,” she said. “At the end of the day, these are items held by the Toledo Public School district.”
She added that if individuals contact TPS for their trophies, the district would accommodate them.
Baccus said LHSA plans to contact libraries, businesses and other organizations to see if they would display memorabilia received by teams. Baccus said this would be a fair way to handle trophies received by more than one person.
However, one alum, Shawn Jackson, said he’d rather team trophies be given to an individual on the team. “[Businesses, etc.] weren’t really a part of it. I feel [the trophy] should go to someone who is part of the team and worked hard to get that trophy,” Jackson said, adding he’d be fine with another teammate getting the trophy.
“As long as I know the trophy is going to be taken care of, I have no problem with it,” he said.
Jackson put his name on a list of individuals seeking trophies during a walkthrough of Libbey about a year ago. He is specifically seeking a trophy from when the Libbey football team played Scott High School in 1984 and a few individual track trophies.
“I don’t know what they’re doing with them. They’re tearing the school down as we speak,” said Jackson, who has not heard from LHSA or TPS since the walkthrough.
TPS plans to seek a place where it can display Libbey trophies along with memorabilia from other area schools that have closed, Sobecki said.
Sobecki said TPS would also be willing to speak with businesses or organizations that would want to display the memorabilia.
“We have been very accommodating in many fashions. It may not be the outcome that folks would like to see, but at the end of the day we have always be accommodating and open to conversation,” Sobecki said.
At press time, Baccus was seeking input from other members of LHSA to see if they would be satisfied with having Libbey trophies displayed amongother schools’ in the future.
Baccus said he doesn’t think the potential transfer of the trophies will go without a hitch.
“If it’s anything like any of our other correspondence with [TPS], it will take a while and it won’t go smoothly,” he said.
“The district has worked with the association with any concerns they’ve had. We’ve been very open to sitting down,” she said.
Baccus said ideally, he would find homes for all 336 pieces of memorabilia, but that his group will focus on historic items and trophies from Libbey’s bigger wins, amounting to 20-30 items.
Baccus said LHSA is also seeking a bronze plaque received by Robert Craig, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and World War II veteran. Sobecki said she did not know of the plaque in particular, but it is listed on the inventory of items in storage.
Those interested in housing trophies can contact Jim Gant, TPS chief business manager, at (419) 671-8414.