Long haul foreseen in distribution of Libbey memorabiliaWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
About eight alumni of the shutdown Libbey High School met with the former principal of the school to continue discussing a plan for memorabilia on March 26.
Gayle Schaber, the last Libbey principal and current director of special projects and compensatory programs for Toledo Public Schools (TPS), told the group, “This is not going to get done in three months or six months; we’re going to be working together for the foreseeable future.”
Much of the group, including members of nonprofit Libbey High School Alumni Inc. (LHSA), attended a March 5 meeting. Schaber took the group’s ideas to the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) of TPS to get a response.
TPS has given Schaber the go-ahead to give trophies to individual winners or their families if the winner is deceased. Schaber said she would be “conservative” in giving the trophies away if multiple family members want the item.
On March 5, the group had suggested that they get together to better catalog the trophies, which are in storage. A list, compiled by Schaber and released by LHSA, is available at www.site.toledolibbeyhsalumni.com/.
However, although Schaber received permission to reinventory the items, she must do it without the group’s help per TPS. “By myself was the way I was assigned it,” she said and declined to expand.
After the March 5 meeting, Schaber was able to rescue three pallets of medallions and the letters L, H and S from being auctioned on March 6. At the March 5 meeting, alumna Janet Mohamed had said the Burroughs Neighborhood Association was interested in securing pallets to create a Libbey monument. However, her group’s plan has hit a snag as gas tanks are under where the monument was slated to be built at the triangle of South Avenue and Airport Highway.
LHSA members suggested the former Libbey campus as an option for Mohamed to take back to the association in addition to applying for grants to fund the project.
Much of the meeting centered on individual plans to take place before the next meeting. Alumna and activist Sue Terrill has been working with Councilman D. Michael Collins about where to place 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. One option is the Veterans Affairs medical facility, scheduled to open this fall on Detroit Avenue. Terrill requested dimensions of the monuments from TPS so that plan could move forward.
In regard to housing trophies, Larrie Baccus, president of LHSA, said he would reach out to The African American Legacy Project and Schaber said she would contact the Toledo History Museum, which has indicated that it may have a 20-by-30-foot room available for Libbey items. Mohamed said she wanted to contact the Toledo Museum of Art to see if it could help.
Yearbooks were another topic touched upon. Schaber said she had extra copies of some years and the group suggested finding other copies to fill the gap years and create a complete set. One complete set is available through the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, but the group agreed that having a backup set at Bowling Green State University or University of Toledo would be preferable.
“How often do you see an 18-year-old (Craig) who has become a medal of honor winner? You see him at 18 in the yearbook,” said Larry Farren, secretary of LHSA.
Another option would be selling the extra copies to fund the project, which is not receiving funds from TPS as of now, Baccus said.
“We need to move on this. I don’t like a project that lingers,” Baccus said. However, after the meeting, he expressed optimism about the project. “I feel like we’re moving forward … hopefully, I’ll have some good news to report at the next meeting.”
The group will report their findings at the next meeting, set for 6 p.m. May 21 at Jones Elementary School. Schaber will once more report TPS’ responses to the group’s ideas at that meeting. Regardless of where the team trophies are, TPS will retain ownership of the items.