TPS, Libbey alumni to meet, decide trophies’ fateWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Two groups occasionally at odds, Libbey High School alumni and Toledo Public School representatives, plan to meet March 5 to discuss what to do with trophies and memorabilia from the closed school.
“We consider it a step in the right direction,” said Larrie Baccus, president of alumni group Libbey High School Alumni Inc.
About 350 trophies and memorabilia items are in a Toledo Public School storage unit at Libbey-Owens-Ford, according to TPS.
LHSA is seeking a home for the items in the community, preferably near Libbey. TPS indicated it would be open to this plan and also suggested displaying Libbey trophies with memorabilia from other shut schools.
Lisa Sobecki, president of the Toledo Board of Education, directed James Gant, chief business manager, to prepare a plan of what to do with the items in time for the Feb. 22 Ohio Schools Facilities Commission meeting. He was also asked to get in touch with alumni about two World War II pieces of memorabilia they requested at a Jan. 24 board meeting.
Gant said he tasked Gayle Schaber, director of special projects and compensatory programs and former Libbey principal, with arranging the meeting.
“[Schaber] understands a lot more than I would,” Gant said. “We have given her some clear direction on how we should proceed.”
“My goal for this meeting is to invite the Libbey community and hear what their concerns are and make a plan,” Schaber said. “The Libbey community needs to have input on 80 years of memories.”
After the meeting, Schaber said she will report to the TPS cabinet for approval of the plan.
“I don’t have a problem that Gayle has been charged with [memorabilia]. She knows what the issues are. I don’t think they want us in their hair at TPS about these matters, and I’m hoping on our end, we find a home short of leaving it up to them to do that,” Baccus said.
Baccus said he plans to reach out to government officials and organizations before the meeting to solidify a plan.
Warren Woodberry, a local activist involved with LHSA, said he contacted the Toledo History Museum/Old West End Antiques Market to house the trophies, but has not heard back.
Baccus said Schaber plans to invite other alumni representatives to the meeting. Francine Coogler Boyd, chair of the final roundup committee, said she had not heard from Schaber at press time.
Libbey alumni groups have not always gotten along in the past, Baccus said.
“There is some lack of understanding,” he said. “My view of what might transpire on the 5th is they will all have their little opinions and things, but we will have mapped out what we want.”
He added however that LHSA is willing to work with the other groups.
Boyd said she doesn’t think LHSA has always acted realistically in the past, adding that she hopes the trophy situation can get resolved, “where there’s not a lot of controversy.”
She added that she would be willing to go the meeting.
Baccus said Schaber also plans to invite a group of alumni from the late ’60s and early ’70s and that he will invite the Libbey Lunch Bunch, a group of older alumni.
In addition, LHSA is planning a Veterans Day celebration centered on a Lt. Robert Craig plaque, commemorating the Congressional Medal of Honor honoree, and a plaque listing the names of 106 Libbey alums who gave their lives in World War II.
Schaber said she takes the plaques very seriously as her second cousin is listed among the World War II veterans.
At a Jan. 27 meeting of six LHSA individuals, Baccus called for ideas from the public of what to do with the trophies. Anyone with suggestions of where to house the plaques or trophies can call Baccus at (419) 244-1236. LHSA is also interested in any photos of the memorabilia. A list of the memorabilia is available at www.site.toledolibbeyhsalumni.com/.
The meeting between alumni and TPS is set for 6-8 p.m. March 5 at Jones Elementary School. LHSA may also meet before then.