Libbey committee may have home for memorabiliaWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
The former principal of the closed Libbey High School met with about 10 alumni and community members March 5 to discuss the future of the school’s trophies and memorabilia.
Gayle Schaber, the last Libbey principal and current director of special projects and compensatory programs for Toledo Public Schools (TPS), arranged for the meeting. Roughly 350 pieces of Libbey memorabilia rest in 45 boxes at a TPS storage unit.
“I’m leading the charge with Toledo Public to let us do some things with our beautiful memories,” Schaber said. She invited to the meeting nonprofit Libbey High School Alumni Inc. (LHSA), members of the committee responsible for the last roundup event at Libbey and a group active with class reunions.
The meeting at Jones Elementary School was meant to create a potential plan for Schaber to present to the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission and the TPS Board of Education cabinet.
“I’m not here to tell you what to do,” Schaber emphasized.
One of LHSA’s objectives has been finding a place in the community to showcase the trophies. The Toledo History Museum has indicated that it may have a 20-by-30-foot room available for Libbey memorabilia, said Warren Woodberry, community activist. Schaber said she would take that idea to TPS.
Larrie Baccus, president of LHSA, has also been in touch with The African American Legacy Project about housing the trophies, he said.
Even though these items would be displayed at these potential locations indefinitely, TPS would retain ownership, Schaber said.
Reuniting about 25 individual trophies with winners or their families was another major concern for the group. There are also eight large portraits that Schaber and the group wanted to see reunited with the subjects’ families. She asked the group for help in locating these families.
One point of contention at the meeting was that an auction for items like the school’s lettering and sandstone medallions was taking place March 6. Although Schaber said an ad had run in The Blade, no one at the meeting was aware of the auction.
Alum Janet Mohamed in particular was interested in the sandstone, as she is part of an effort to create a memorial from the medallions. When news of the auction caused a stir, Schaber said she would try her best to stop a few medallions from being auctioned. Schaber was able to secure three pallets of medallions and the letters L, H and S before the auction, she confirmed.
The meeting was not without other moments of anger. “I can’t bring my mom down Western Avenue. She probably would die over it,” said Mohamed, who comes from a “Libbey family.”
“I’m kinda feeling like a piñata here,” Schaber confessed at one point. “I can’t answer for everything everybody does.”
The group also discussed the 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. Sue Terrill, activist and Libbey alum, said she had been in touch with Councilman D. Michael Collins about where to potentially place the items.
Collins said the Craig plaque could go in the Veterans Administration medical facility, scheduled to open this fall on Detroit Avenue. He said One Government Center could be a potential home for the second plaque.
“It would be very fitting to be in our Council chambers, since we no longer have the school,” he said.
Woodberry also suggested getting a group together to better catalog the trophies. A list is available at www.site.toledolibbeyhsalumni.com/.
“I liked your idea tremendously, Mr. Woodberry. This is not something I can do by myself,” Schaber said. Although the trophies are packed, she said a moving company she worked with would be willing to temporarily open the boxes.
After Schaber presents the group’s ideas and worries to TPS at the upcoming board meeting, they are set to meet again and determine the next steps. The group will mostly operate from email as “I have no budget to do this,” Schaber said.
Of the first meeting, Baccus said, “I’m happy everybody got a chance to weigh in … but we want to see results before we start praising.”