Teachers reflect on weird items they have found while packing up their rooms

An Anthology of peculiar items discovered by teachers packing

Jackson Yanek

By Cuyler Dunn, Staff Writer

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Upcoming construction is helping teachers rediscover weird and lost memories.

LHS is approaching a massive construction project set to begin this summer, and teachers have already began packing and getting ready for the transition. This has allowed staff members to uncover old projects or interesting relics that had been left collecting dust. CTE teacher Jay Hundley recently revived a decade-old project.

“Before I came here, I was teaching down in Texas, and I started an armoire,” Hundley said. “It’s a tall wardrobe basically. I didn’t get it done, so I brought it up here, and for 21 years I hadn’t worked on it. Finally, over the Christmas break, I finished it. It was a 25-year project.”

Hundley hadn’t found the time to finish his project until he rediscovered it.

“It was in the storage room,” he said.

Art teacher Wendy Vertacnik came in last summer to do some cleaning before her floors were removed, and she found a lost piece from a former LHS artist that had eluded her for years.

“So, Miranda [Pratt] was like a major scholarship winner, and she went to Kansas City Art Institute,” Vertacnik said. “She was head of art club and just a real good student.”

Vertacnik said she has always been good at keeping track of student artwork.

“In all my years teaching I have only lost two pieces, and that was one of them,” she said. “I know she felt bad that the piece was lost, and we searched everywhere but couldn’t find it.”

Luckily Vertacnik’s summer cleaning paid off in more ways than one.

“So this summer when they took all these shelves out, it was behind there so we found it, and I was thrilled because she was such a good student.”

Photo teacher Angelia Perkins found a decomposing photo prop while cleaning her room.

“We went on a fieldtrip out to western Kansas with the whole portfolio group and someone’s parents had an old farm that was abandoned,” Perkins said. “So they allowed the whole class to photograph at the farm, and there were all sorts of out-buildings. There was the house itself. There was a barn. So, we just went in and out of all these wonderful spaces to photograph and in the barn was this freaky looking thing, which we didn’t know what it was but then we figured out that it was a chicken.”

Photography teacher, Angelia Perkins discovered a partially fossilized chicken skeleton in her room during clean-out. Perkins is known for her collection of odd and interesting objects and this was one of the more unique finds in her room. The chicken had previously been used as a prop, including this photo taken by graduate Allie Fischer.

The chicken had been left in very dry conditions causing it to create a mummy-like form.

“It had been in such a dry environment that nothing was rotted but all the skin was really tight on the outside, so in the dry conditions, where it had been, it basically mummified it,” Perkins said.

The class decided to use the scary find for later pictures and projects.

“We took some pictures on location but a lot of people wanted to do something like, ‘Oh, this would be so weird to use in a work of art.’ So in our freaky ways of everything we use for art, we decided to put it in a box and to bring it home,” Perkins said.

Perkins rediscovered recently while cleaning out her room.

“I put it in a box and put it up there and when I was cleaning I was like, ‘Oh, what is this?’ and I opened it up, and it’s the mummified chicken,” she said.

Journalism teacher Barbara Tholen discovered some school history along with peculiar games.

“I knew I had all this in here, but I’ve got all these archived, old copies of The Budget,” Tholen said. “Some of them are newer but then in one of these boxes, I’ve got one package I found one that’s from 1905.”

Along with old issues of The Budget, she also found old awards.

“I have boxes and boxes of awards that I found,” she said. “Some of that stuff I found underneath my [previous] room because there’s tunnels that run underneath the building. I remember pulling one out in that room from 1913 or something.”

Beyond the rich history, Tholen uncovered, she also found old board games.

“Earlier this year, this whole bottom shelf was full of bizarre board games, like weird board games,” Tholen said. “I got rid of a bunch of them, but these are the ones that I just can’t part with because I think they’re too funny. The New Kids on the Block board game. I think I’m going to take it home because I feel like it would be a fun thing to bust out at a party, and I have no idea why we have it.”

Tholen and many other LHS teachers continue to clean and pack up their rooms, ready for construction to begin.

“I just think these are weird,” said Tholen, “and who knows why we have them here.”