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Lt. Gov. Skillman visits county

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

2005 Clay City High School Academic Letter Awards Honor Students:


Katanna Baumgartner, Estil J. Caton, Casey Collins, John Edwards, Angela Harden, Danielle Hayden, Jacob Jackson, Emily Lowdermilk, Jenna Mitchell, Thomas L. Roeschlein, Jeffrey Schlak, Bryleigh Schopmeyer, Kari Seymour, Jerrica Singer, Danielle Steiner


Elizabeth Beyers, Michael Hogan, Sabrina Liechty, Leah Ludwig, Sean McHenry, Lindsey Moss, Cassandra Scott, Christine Taney


Jennifer Alsip, Joel Farmer, Samantha Floyd, Tiffany Fry, Melinda Jackson, Wayne Jeffers, Elizabet Lopez Paulino, Tyler Moon, Kendra Roe, Jacqueline Sands, Adam Schroer, Rebecca Seymour, Kasey Waite, Brooklyn Wellman


Whitney Ames, Kayla Baumgartner, Lilliana Hoag, Erica Kimmel, Hanna Moore, Andrew Nicoson, Dale Stoops, Kayla Withrow, Lacey Wolf

"I'm happy to be here," Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman said in an interview just before speaking to the 44 honor students at last night's 2005 Clay City High School Academic Letter Awards Banquet. "I'm a small town girl from a small town school. I know how important ceremonies like this are to students, their families, the schools and the community."

Calling the town of Bedford, Ind., home, Skillman's small town roots and concern for public education were not the only reasons for her attendance.

"I have a special bond with the Sinders family," she said to the crowd of more than 200, the largest ever for the event. "I had the privilege to have their oldest son, Chip, as an intern while he was an Indiana State University student."

It was through that relationship that she got to know the principal of Clay City High School very well.

"Paul Sinders is a very special man, and a main reason that Clay City is so highly recognized by the state as a Four Star School," she said before congratulating his achievements throughout his career and his upcoming retirement. The crowd responded with hearty applause.

"But it took the support of all of you; students, parents, the teachers and staff of the school and your community for success to happen," Skillman said, praising the school patrons for their efforts in helping to make educational achievement possible. "Students can't succeed without others."

With "Aiming Higher" the theme of last year's Daniels/Skillman campaign, Skillman reminded the students, and the crowd, that the idea has not been forgotten by the administration, that government officials have set about making sure that a brighter future awaits.

"Tonight is a moment to savor your success. Be proud of what you have done so far," she said, reminding them that they were part of an elite group. According to Indiana Department of Education, only 29 percent of the seniors graduating last year acquired an Academic Honors Diploma. "Dare to dream, to explore. Step outside of that comfortable box, strive to excel."

Skillman spoke of carrying this accomplishment throughout life.

"Use this accomplishment to better not only your life, but that of your families and the collective community in which you are a part of," Skillman said. "We're all obligated to give back something for someone other than ourselves."

Skillman then spoke of the administration's concern about brain drain affecting Indiana. Many of the brightest and best students are leaving upon college graduation for other areas of the country and the Daniels administration is working on plans to create a stronger job market to stop the loss of our most talented people.

She urged students to "keep a sense of wonder about the world in which you live while maximizing your potential. We pledge to do all that is humanly possible to ensure a bright future for you."

Highlighting Abraham Lincoln's career, which was filled with failure upon failure and tremendous obstacles before becoming president, Skillman showed students that perseverance is a key to striving to aim higher for goals not only for themselves, but for their families and community as well.

"Gov. Mitch has a saying that is a major theme in our administration," Skillman said, challenging the students to make it a reality. "No Hoosier is better off unless all Hoosiers are better off."

But she warned that it takes a great amount of time and energy to succeed.

"Take care of yourselves," she urged, than gave everyone a secret of success. "Give yourself a secret reserve to rely upon. Say no when you need to, so that when you say yes, you can."

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