Ivanhoe School Board confronted about trashed trophies

IVANHOE – The Ivanhoe School Board met criticism and questions during its regular meeting Thursday night concerning the whereabouts of school trophies. Past school board member Alan Widmark addressed the board with questions about trophies that were found in a dumpster behind the school.

“The trophies that ended up in the dumpster… Who made the decision?” Widmark asked. “Was it the board? Was it an individual? What went on?”

Board chairman Steve Citterman explained that the board had given the school administration the authority to “to go through everything and find out what we have and what we have in excess,” he said. “And as far as regards to the trophies, from the building project, they were stacked in boxes, five or six high and packed in a room… when they were taken out they were given the authority that if a trophy is busted or if a plate is missing and you have no clue what it is, that trophy can be thrown away.”

“So the administration had no idea what these trophies meant to anybody?” asked Widmark.

Citterman said that he did not know the specifics as to which trophies were thrown away and guessed that there were roughly 20 trophies that were tossed.

Widmark said that he had numerous people call him, including a group of six concerned alumni and community members that had gone and taken the trashed trophies out of the dumpster.

“There was a 1936 District Champion trophy, that was one that was in the dumpster,” Widmark said. “Yes, it was damaged, but they can be repaired. That’s school history. That’s community and taxpayers’ property. And you’re going to throw away school history that means something to a lot of people here?”

Citterman said that the initial plan was to auction off the old trophies during Polish Days, but “after this whole thing erupted, we’ve decided to put everything back in the boxes and leave them in the school.”

“I heard that there was no room in this school to make an archive room or anything like that,” Widmark said. “We only have 40-50 kids in a 400-student building that cost us $12 million, and I’m told there is no room to preserve our history?”

“That’s incorrect,” said school board clerk Beth Otto. “Actually what they wanted to do was take the stuff that they found and create an artifact display.”

“They’re our school history,” Widmark said. “And that’s all we’ve got left. For $12 million and a building that we have to pay for for 20 years. And $1.4 million, now you’re going to take our history away from us?”

“Absolutely not,” Otto said.

“Well, that’s what you’re doing,” said Widmark. “Obviously they didn’t mean anything to you guys.”

Otto asked Widmark if he had any further questions, and Widmark responded with a call for the board’s resignation.

“Before you make any more decisions… all six of you need to resign immediately,”?he said.

After the meeting, Widmark met with the group and confirmed that roughly 150 trophies were found in the dumpster behind the school. He said that the group took 13 boxes of trophies from the dumpster and that more than half of those boxes contained trophies that were not damaged. Widmark also reported that the trophies are currently being safely stored in a private garage.