College and Johnson County Museum of History Receive Coveted Award from Indiana Historical Society
Campus News
Wonder Five Team

Franklin’s 1920 state championship boys basketball team, known as the “Wonder Five,” included, from left, Burl Friddle, Ralph Hicks, Paul White, Robert “Fuzzy” Vandivier, Sima Comer, John Gant, Harold Borden, Harvey Keeling and coach Ernest “Griz” Wagner. Submitted photo.

Franklin College and the Johnson County Museum of History have been selected by the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) to receive an Outstanding Collaborative Project Award for their work on the Wonder Five Centennial Celebration that took place this past March.

The annual award recognizes exceptional history-based projects or events by a historical or heritage organization with one or more partners implemented during the past year with special consideration for those that share county or regional history. 

The awarded collaborative project marked the 100th anniversary of the legendary Franklin Wonder Five’s first Indiana high school basketball state championship. It offered two free public events – an exhibit at the Johnson County Museum of History and a historical marker unveiling and dedication on the Franklin College campus where the team played. Ten Franklin College students from the Public History course conducted the project research, planned the events and completed the historical marker application process, with guidance from their history professor Dr. Meredith Clark-Wiltz and co-instructor David Pfeiffer, the Johnson County Museum of History director. The research involved individuals from the college, Johnson County Museum of History, Johnson County Historical Society and Franklin Community School Corp. Read more about the project here.  

“I am extremely proud of our students, Dr. Clark-Wiltz and David Pfeiffer for their work on this project,” said Franklin College President Kerry Prather. “This successful collaboration exemplifies the unique immersive educational experiences that make Franklin College distinctive.” 

The award will be presented during the Indiana Historical Society’s Founders Day Awards program in a virtual format this year due to the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The program will take place on Monday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. and will be posted live on the Indiana Historical Society’s Facebook page (Facebook Live) at A video of the program will also be available for viewing on the IHS YouTube channel.

The pre-recorded program will highlight 16 individuals and organizations from across the state for their various contributions to Indiana history during the past year.

POSTED Oct 30, 2020