Shelby County Advantage Graduates Pass 10,000 Hours of Community Service | New
âThe past year has not been like the others. You have all overcome obstacles, demonstrated resilience and a commitment to stay the course on your educational journey. “
Stephanie Amos, Vice Chancellor of Johnson and Shelby Counties of Ivy Tech, kicked off the Advantage Shelby County Class of 2021 graduation ceremony Thursday evening by offering praise to the 33 students seated in the gymnasium at the Civic Center.
âYou are really, really amazing and should be so proud of all that you have accomplished over the past two years,â she continued.
Advantage Shelby County had a total of 36 students who completed their free two-year college program this spring. Three of those students were due to graduate in 2020, but have been postponed to spring 2021 due to COVID-19.
The scholarship program began as a partnership between Ivy Tech, the City of Shelbyville and the County of Shelby in 2016 with the goal of increasing skilled workers in the county.
âIt started as an idea,â Mayor Tom DeBaun told graduates. âWe were trying to figure out how to better help our community achieve certain levels of success. We didn’t have time to think about the impact this would have on people’s lives. “
One of the steeples of the âlegacy programâ (as DeBaun called it) is that it allows students to attend two years of community college for free. In return for local support (ie tuition fees), students are required to complete ten hours of community service per semester (or a total of 40 hours over two years for each student).
The 2021 class has crossed the 10,000 hour mark for the program.
Ivy Tech Indianapolis Chancellor Kathleen Lee stressed the importance of this achievement: âOnly you and the [family] sitting in the stands I know how hard you worked to make it through tonight.
âI don’t know if you realize how rare it is to have a supportive community like you,â she continued. âI also know it was the group of students who broke the 10,000 hour mark and took us into nearly 11,000 hours of community service for Shelby County. Not only are you making a difference in your own life through your education, but you are also making a difference in your community. Hope you enjoy this opportunity as I know your community appreciates all the hard work you have put in.
Lee – who oversees Ivy Tech Indianapolis and its surrounding sites – announced that this would be his last Shelby County Graduation Advantage because Ivy Tech reorganized and decided to place Shelby County under the supervision of Ivy Tech Columbus. She also announced that this spring will be her last round of graduates as she retires.
âThanks for everything you’ve done,â she said. âFor me, personally, it was a great pleasure to see this program unfold. When we dreamed about it and started talking about it five years ago, we didn’t know we would have the numbers we have now.
“I hope you move forward from this point forward – whether in the military, in employment or in college – and make a difference in the lives of others like this county,” your family and loved ones have made a difference for you, âshe continued. âWhen I look back on my career at Ivy Tech, almost the The highlight will be the Shelby County Advantage program and the way this community has wrapped its arms around its students.
Lee introduced Dr Sue Ellspermann, President of Ivy Tech, who continued to praise the relationship between Ivy Tech and the Shelby community.
âIt was so exciting to watch this grow over the past five years,â said Ellspermann. âThis community has done free community colleges the right way.â
âYou really received a great gift,â she continued. âI know you worked hard to earn this gift, but it really is a gift. Now it’s up to you to deliver that gift, to further your career, to put your considerable talents and skills to work. “
Ivy Tech Columbus Chancellor Steven Combs (who will oversee Advantage Shelby County next year) then spoke: âWe are delighted to have the opportunity to continue the great work of Kathleen Lee and her team. Combs said. “We have decided by July 1 to launch, so we have already started working on the transition.”
He had the honor of reading the names of the graduates during their graduation ceremony.
Class of 2021: Alexis Bass, Conner Beagle, Arik Bowen, Joseph Burgess, Brooke Clark, Timothy Clark, Marlee Correll, Megan Dennis, Nancy DeSpain, Devin Gates, Labreah Gossett, Julia Harmon, Madison Hartman, Lily Heffren, Hannah Hobbs, Danielle Kuhn, David Lay, Caleb Lisby, Emily Maza, Casey Mckenzie, Joseph McQueen, Madison Minor, Lani Norris, Kathryn Parker, Faith Pelt, Raiden Phillippe, Brianna Sinclair, Zane Smith, Blake Stephens, Alixandra Trueblood, Kameron Tucker, Aaliyah Turner , Logan Van Note, Matthew Vankirk, Joseph Wilson and Hunter Yonts.
Advantage Shelby County Director Amy Carter closed the ceremony with several inspiring âAmy-ismsâ. She asked the graduating class how many ways you could come up with five.
Responses included four plus one, three plus two, five minus zero, ten minus five, and a few more.
âThere are many, many, and many paths that will take you to your destination, just like there are many ways to get to five,â she says. âJust because your path doesn’t look like someone else’s doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If the board here had taken the same path as everyone else, we wouldn’t be sitting here. The point is, there are many different paths to your destination, and I want you to choose yours. “