GUEST OPINION: ‘Extraordinary’ support for the class of 2017

By LAURA HAMMACK, guest columnist

Laura Hammack
Laura Hammack

A very special event took place May 1.

The Brown County High School auditorium was filled with members from the class of 2017 who were being celebrated during the annual senior awards night. This is an evening where community and college scholarships, honors and recognition are distributed to students and celebrated with family and friends.

Shane Killinger, principal of Brown County High School, opened the ceremony by sharing that the monetary value of awards that were distributed had once again surpassed the previous year. We were all stunned to hear that over $500,000 of scholarships, honors and awards have been realized for seniors who are preparing to graduate from Brown County High School.

Our seniors have proved to be simply extraordinary in their level of scholarship and service. Their efforts have been honored by an incredible number of local community organizations as well as countless institutions of higher learning.

I was incredibly touched by the achievements that our students were able to realize during their years in Brown County Schools. Many of the students who were recognized endured challenging circumstances and were still able to realize significant levels of success.

As well, I was genuinely touched by the amount of support that our students are able to enjoy from the community of Brown County. I have never seen such an expansive list of local community scholarships that are conferred to a graduating class by local community organizations.

Brown County, thank you for wrapping your arms around our boys and girls to ensure that their success is realized.

I’d like to highlight those community organizations who so kindly presented a scholarship or award to one or more of our Brown County High School seniors. Your support of our students is so appreciated: Lions Education Award, Brown County Farm Bureau Award, Brown County 4-H Council Scholarship, P.E.O. Chapter CU Scholarship, Kappa Kappa Kappa Education Scholarship, Psi Iota Xi Education Award, Shorty and Judy Hardwick Scholarship, National History Day Award, PJ Johnson Memorial Scholarship, Linda Crawford Mathematics and Science Award, American Red Cross and Indiana Blood Center Scholarship, Indiana University, U.S. Marines Special Recognition, Daughters of the American Revolution Award, and other awards, apprenticeships and scholarships.

The Brown County Community Foundation’s Scholarship Committee also honored many of our seniors with special scholarships. These include: the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, Betty Ann Moebs Memorial Scholarship, Bill Monroe Memorial Scholarship, Brown County Citizens’ Scholarship, Brown County Indiana University Scholarship, Bruce Gregory Temple Memorial Scholarship, Clarence and Karen Zody Scholarship, Dorothy Stewart Memorial Scholarship, John A. and Cheryl J. Eyed Scholarship, Milloy Family Scholarship, Peaceful Valley Memorial Scholarship, Richard A. Bowden Golfers’ Scholarship, Sam and Harriet Johnson-Purdue Scholarship, Simon Family Memorial Scholarship, Steven and Cathy Junken Scholarship and the James A. Voland Scholarship.

The evening concluded with the award of the Golden Eagle/McGrayel-Russo Scholarship as well as the conferral of an achievement that has not been realized in a very long time. We were able to celebrate a student who achieved a perfect 13 years of attendance in Brown County Schools!

This was a very special evening and these are very special students. Our community deserves great thanks for their support of our young people.

There is a quotation by Anthony J. D’Angelo that I came across a long time ago that I have kept as a “keeper.” It reads, “Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”

Brown County, your caring is evidenced in this incredible community who is the Class of 2017. Thank you.

Laura Hammack is superintendent of Brown County schools. She can be reached at 812-988-6601 or