Clay City High School Academic Letter Awards Banquet honored 41 students for achieving scholastic excellence Tuesday evening at First United Church of Christ with a complete meal served by Christian Discovery and sponsored by First State Bank.
"Your ability to learn is a gift. Some of you made good grades easily. Others have had to work hard at it. For those of you who've had it easy, there's going to come a time when you'll have to work hard to be successful. That's an juncture in your life. For those of you who've had to work hard, you're already successful and you will be no matter what you do in life. Stay the course," Dr. James Buechler, guest speaker, said.
Buechler is originally from Marshall, Ill. and attended medical school in Chicago. Realizing the shortage of doctors in rural communities, he established Midwest Center for Rural Health with Union Hospital in Terre Haute, which is a residency program for doctors completing their medical training. In November, he became director of Clay City Center for Family Medicine.
He said he couldn't remember many of his professors, but remembers each and every one of his high school teachers because the type of teachers in small rural communities cared about each and every one of their students. Big schools might offer more things, he said, but he never felt disadvantaged in medical school because he had a solid foundation of the core subjects.
"Like many of you, after graduation I wanted to get out of town and never come back. But when I was in Chicago I was dying to get back. I went into practice with my family doctor. He's still practicing at 87. I hope all of you will consider staying in Clay City. If you do, don't ever look back on that decision thinking you made a mistake. It's not that great out there in the rest of the world," Buechler said.
He ended with a bit of advice. Help your community to prosper and give to charities to provide for others. Remember to serve only one master. Money can too easily become another master. Be open minded and don't judge others. Find balance in your life and enjoy life as it comes.
Students received a Clay City letter with a Lamp of Learning insignia on it to designate it as a academic letter. It may be added to a jacket or sweater. Students also receive a bar for every year of eligibility. Academic letter grade point requirements are 3.800 after one semester; 3.700 after three semesters; 3.600 after five semesters; 3.500 after seven semesters. An All-Star Academic Plaque was presented to seniors maintaining a 4.000 GPA.
Jeff Steward, president of First State Bank, concluded the evening with presentation of the Greenwell Scholarship and named the 2003 Greenwell Scholar. The bank is trustee of the scholarships, named for Clay City residents E. E. (Ed) and Maude Greenwell.
Matt Farmer received a $2,000 one-year Greenwell Scholarship.
Kevi Baumgartner was named the 2003 Greenwell Scholar, earning a four-year full tuition college education.