CG group creating alumni Hall of Fame

Throughout its history, Center Grove schools has produced people who have left an unquestioned impact on the community, the state and the world.

Now, officials want to recognize those extraordinary Trojans in its newly formed Hall of Fame.

Center Grove Alumni and Friends has created a Hall of Fame to honor graduates and community members for their professional achievements and personal contributions to improve the lives of others and society.

By publicly putting a spotlight on these people, their example will hopefully serve to inspire future graduates to perform and serve in the same spirit, said Jennifer Rakow, executive director of the Center Grove Education Foundation.

“We have some alumni who are doing amazing, amazing things, and we’re excited to be able to showcase that,” she said. “And we have alumni and community members who have done a lot to give back to the community and the school corporation.”

Center Grove Alumni and Friends is open to Center Grove alumni, current or former school board members, administrators, faculty or staff, and parents and grandparents of Center Grove High School graduates.

Founders wanted to create space for people who may not have graduated from Center Grove, but who have been important parts of the community. The group’s efforts include special events such as the homecoming tailgate, scholarships to local students, establishing an archive of school history and honoring the oldest living alumni.

The idea to create a Alumni Hall of Fame grew out of a desire for the alumni group to adjust their focus, Rakow said.

“For years and years, they used to hold an all-class reunion or banquet, which gave our alumni a chance to come together and see people they hadn’t seen in a long time,” she said. “With the evolution of social media, people are more connected now than ever. The need to get together in that type of situation wasn’t needed. This group found they needed to reinvent themselves.”

Looking at alumni associations across Indiana and beyond, one thing the Center Grove group was missing was a Hall of Fame.

“We wanted to take an opportunity to recognize both our graduates and community members who are doing great things,” Rakow said.

The Alumni Hall of Fame has started accepting nominations for its first class, which will be announced in June followed by a celebration in the fall. Nominees must have graduated from Center High School at least 10 years ago or have been a resident of the Center Grove community for a continuous period of at least 10 years, or have made substantial contributions to the community.

They must have a special achievement in their area of specialty, and/or received honors, awards or other recognition on a local, regional, national or international level. In addition, they must have demonstrated leadership, character and service to society in general or to a specific segment of society. Nominations for posthumous awards will be accepted.

“We want to recognize people both for professional achievements as well as personal contributions,” Rakow said. “It’s been interesting to see some of the applications we’ve already seen.”

Applications will be accepted through April 30, and then a committee has been formed to go through those nominations.

Details are still being finalized with how those chosen for the Hall of Fame will be recognized within the high school, so students can learn about their stories.

“We hope this public example will serve as an inspiration for our future graduates in terms of what they may be able to achieve or perform or serve in the same fields that these people did,” Rakow said.