Center Grove Alumni and Friends Establishing Hall of Fame

Writer / Jennifer Rakow

Photography Provided

The first Center Grove High School class graduated in 1888. There were four students. Since then, more than 20,000 alumni have gone out into the world and done some pretty amazing things. Center Grove Alumni and Friends is looking to recognize those individuals with the establishment of the Center Grove Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame.

The Center Grove Alumni Association was started in 1898. For many years they hosted an alumni banquet in early June at Center Grove High School (CGHS). It gave classmates an opportunity to get together, reminisce about the old times and share what was going on in their lives. However, with the evolution of social media, alumni became more easily connected. As interest in an annual banquet began to wane, the association had to reimagine what the group would look like.

In 2013 the group came under the umbrella of the Center Grove Education Foundation.

“We saw an opportunity to connect our alumni with the current events in our school corporation and encourage their support of our students and programs.” says Jennifer Rakow, executive director of the Center Grove Education Foundation.

The group also expanded to include Center Grove alumni and friends.

“We wanted to create space for people who may not have graduated from Center Grove, but who have been an important part of the community,” says Jack Russell, a 1974 Center Grove graduate and current school-board member. “We had families where maybe the parents didn’t graduate from here, but because of their involvement with their kids they were a big part of Center Grove.”

CGHS alumni, current or former school-board members, administrators, faculty or staff, and parents and grandparents of CGHS graduates are welcome to be part of the group. Through the years the group’s efforts have included special events such as a homecoming tailgate, a job fair, scholarships for graduating seniors, and special recognition of the oldest living alumni. In looking at the activities of other high school alumni associations, leaders realized an alumni hall of fame was missing. The Alumni and Friends group went to work developing a formalized process to celebrate outstanding alumni and friends who have supported Center Grove schools.

The Center Grove Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame will recognize graduates and community members for their professional achievements and personal contributions to improve the lives of others and society. Their public example will hopefully serve to inspire future graduates to perform and serve in the same spirit.

Hall of Fame requirements for eligibility are as follows:

  • The nominee 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.
  • The nominee 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.
  • The nominee 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.

Nominations are being accepted now through April 30, 2022. You can complete the application electronically at centergrovealumni.org. A printable version is available online. You can also pick up a copy of the application Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Center Grove Education Service Center, located at 4800 West Stones Crossing Road in Greenwood.

The selection committee will meet and vote on nominees in late May. Notifications will be made in June, with a celebration to be held in the fall. Nominees will be considered for three years if not chosen the first year of submission. All nomination forms are kept on file for those three years, so there will be no need to resubmit the application.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please reach out to Jennifer Rakow, executive director of the Center Grove Education Foundation, at jrakow@centergrovefoundation.org, or at 317-881-9326, ext. 1530. You can also follow Center Grove Alumni and Friends on Facebook and Twitter.

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