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Chamber honors educators for their ‘excellence’

To conclude last week’s second-annual ‘Excellence in Education’ celebration at Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Dr. Neyland Clark, superintendent of South Harrison Community School Corp., noted that Harrison County is blessed with many, many wonderful educators.
Some of the top educators, who had been named Educators of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, were honored at the event, as were 18 students who received scholarships through the Chamber and through the Harrison County Community Foundation.
Most of the educators reflected on a meaningful moment during their teaching careers, ranging from receiving letters of thanks from former students, to establishing teamwork within a school, to a second grader telling one of the honorees that the teacher was ‘probably good enough to teach third grade.’
Educators of the Year were:
Karen E. Freeberg, language arts teacher at North Harrison Middle School, with 19 years experience; Kacie L. Withers, second-grade teacher at Corydon Elementary School, with six years experience; Regina Lynn Cory, second-grade teacher at South Central Elementary School, with nine years experience; Robin Thieneman Wolfe, reading and literature teacher at Lanesville Elementary School, with 27 years experience; Mark B. Black, principal at Corydon Central Junior High School, with 21 years experience.
‘The time and energy that you put forth to help young people is key to their development,’ Clark said to the honorees. ‘We thank you.’
Teachers and educators were nominated then judged by a committee outside of Harrison County in the areas of education history and professional development activities, philosophy of teaching and a personal glimpse.
Chamber of Commerce scholarship winners were, by school:
Corydon Central High School ‘ Kelly Dawn Eberly and Jolanna Renee Stiles;
Lanesville Junior-Senior High School ‘ Brittney Jo Gayhart and Amber Nicole Law;
North Harrison High School ‘ Joshua Michael Stowers (winner of the Charles and Rae Davis Walk Scholarship) and Kiersten Leigh Schmelz (winner of the J. Gordon Pendleton/Earl Book Scholarship);
South Central Junior-Senior High School ‘ Kayla Marie Money and Jodie Marie Spencer.
The HCCF Building Our Future Scholarship winners each received a $5,000 scholarship that is renewable upon meeting certain criteria. By meeting the standards, a student could potentially receive $20,000 during the course of their collegiate careers.
Those winners were, in alphabetical order: Brandi Auberry (North Harrison), Ashley Eveslage (North Harrison), Rachel Geracitano (South Central), Jessica Ketterer (Lanesville), Devin Kitterman (Corydon Central), Travis Miller (Providence), Chad Salomon (Corydon Central), Hilary Ann Thevenot (North Harrison), Lori Weis (Corydon Central) and Katelyn West (Corydon Central).
The keynote speaker for the last week was Dr. Lisa Clunie, a North Harrison High School graduate who practices at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon.
Clunie, who attended college at the University of Louisville and Indiana University, told the audience that ‘home’ was defined in the dictionary as a place of origin or a place of destination. Her own career path mirrored the definition, she said, because what she learned at home helped her through college, which ultimately led to her practicing medicine in Harrison County.
Clunie, who attended the IU medical school in Evansville for two years and did her residency at U of L, told the scholarship award winners to remember that their monetary help isn’t the only thing that should mean something.
‘For you to get that scholarship, someone had to believe in you. Remember that, and remember that others believe in you. And don’t forget to believe in yourself,’ she said.
Clunie described how she was emotionally tested two weeks after she started her practice here: ‘It just felt right to come back (to Harrison County) to practice. But then I lost my mother and not long after that I lost my father. It was a very difficult time for me, but I knew home was still here even though my home as I knew it had changed.’
The invocation was given by Bill Taylor, who serves on the Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, and music before and after the ceremony was provided by guitarist Gary Wood of Corydon.