Independence students push on in trophy restoration

Refurbished trophies on display in the Independence media center. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Refurbished trophies on display in the Independence media center. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

By Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

For an entire school year, students at Independence High School have been working to restore a chunk of school history from rusting and decaying in the basement.

The Independence DREAM Team, a group of student leaders, have been working to clean up and repair hundreds of trophies that were moved to a flood-prone basement years ago.

The trophies date as far back as the 60s, and encompass all sports and academic competitions, from football and basketball to scholars’ bowl and Future Farmers of America.

Beginning at the start of the school year, U.S. History teacher and advisor to the DREAM Team, Noel Hamrick, started taking the trophies out, cleaning them, and putting them on display in the media center.

Hamrick, who graduated from Independence in 1995, has even seen names of her classmates on trophies that the group has worked to repair.

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Independence DREAM Team to restore neglected trophies

The bomb shelter at Independence High School, now home to hundreds of Big “I” trophies. PHOTOS BY DEREK LACEY

Each year, Noel Hamrick takes her US History class to see the old bomb shelter at Independence High School, leading them out a side door, through a chain link fence, down concrete stairs, and through a hot boiler room.

But the thing most students take away from the trip is not the impact of Cold War tensions, it’s the hundreds of Big “I” trophies stored on rusted shelves in the dank, flood-prone room.

Dating from 1967, the trophies include academic and athletic achievements, everything from small wooden plaques and certificates to huge three-tiered trophies.

“Wow. That’s probably the best word I could use to describe it,” said Ivan Blair, senior at Independence. “It was devastating, I guess you could say…I didn’t know that we had that many trophies, and I definitely didn’t know that they were all down there.” Continue reading

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