Near the top of the One America Tower, (a.k.a- American United Life Insurance Tower) the Skyline restaurant presented a rather cozy setting for the couple hundred academic enthusiasts gathered for the Annual Indianapolis Carson Scholars Awards Ceremony.
As you exit the elevators on the 36th floor, you see two, six-foot tall velvet upholstered tufted wing back chairs, and feel cherished and honored already! About a dozen oil paintings hang on the burgundy colored walls facing the 12′ tall windows, which afford breath-taking views of the city, suburbs and even several miles into the countryside. Lucas Oil Stadium is in plain view as well as Monument Circle (for which the nickname “Circle City” is derived) in the center of downtown Indianapolis.The focal point of the circle is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which proudly salutes our country’s heroes.
The program began with new emcee, Daniel Miller, who anchors the news for WISH-TV channel 8. His welcome included the facts that tonight’s celebration would honor 19 new scholars from the state, and 39 repeat scholars from the Indiana, and northern parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. He also pointed out that there are now 110 Ben Carson Reading Rooms across the nation, eight of which are in Indianapolis.
Four-time Carson Scholar winner, Noah Lancaster, from Westfield Middle School has a dream of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon in order to help children with brain tumors like his little brother, Spencer. He quite compellingly led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mrs. Carson followed, expressing her gratitude on behalf of the Carson Scholars organization for the combined efforts of parents and guardians, educators, volunteers, sponsors and staff to make it possible to support the future leaders of our nation. The resulting ripple effect of honoring these academic leaders increases the likelihood of expeditious solutions to the world’s problems as more young people strive to be the best they can be!
The blessing was given by 2014 scholar Rachel Steelman, an eighth-grader at Daniel Webster School 46 who plans to pursue a career in engineering. She began with a quote by Albert Einstein about seizing the moment (accomplishing what you can while you can). And preparing for tomorrow by educating oneself is an activity we should all perform whole-heartedly.
Another four-time winner and Cathedral High School sophomore, Allison Wehrli performed a lovely, melodic piano solo and continued with soothing background music from the Romantic period as dinner was served. Her brother, Matthew is also a four-time winner from the same school!
In his introduction of Dr. Carson, Edric Zeng, a 2014 scholar in the tenth grade at Lawrence North High School, spoke of his Google search for information on the doctor. He was somewhat stunned that the search yielded 19 million hits in 26 seconds! Edric was impressed with and inspired by how Dr. Carson has unlocked doors for countless children, not only his patients, but also young people like those being honored that evening.
Dr. Carson began with remarks about the former adult honorees that have been placed as role models for the scholars at past award ceremonies. The screens came alive with these well-known visionaries and their sage advice to the scholars.
The Trailblazer award was then presented by Dr. Carson to Mr. Tony Rose, division controller with the ITW FEG/Hobart Food Machines division in Troy, Ohio. This award recognizes a person with a pioneering spirit who has positively impacted society. His staunch support of the program in the state of Ohio is exemplary.
Carson continued with his reflections on his own life and how his mother’s God-inspired reading program turned his life around 180 degrees. With knowledge and understanding also comes responsibility and courage to speak up. He called us to remember that 239 years ago, Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death!” And recalled the soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy in France during WWII, charging up the sand dunes in the midst of brutal gunfire, not for themselves but so that we, their progeny could still have the same freedoms that they had. In closing, Carson had us consider the final phrase of the Star Spangled Banner, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”, and pronounced, “You cannot be free if you are not brave!”
Then the time for scholar awards arrived. Each student made his way up to the front of the room as Mr. Miller called their name and shared some of their accomplishments. Medals, certificates and hugs were bestowed upon the scholars in celebration of the results of their hard work and sacrifice to achieve such an honor.
The end was in keeping with the tradition of the organization – while “The Impossible Dream” inspired all musically, the waving glowsticks inspired us visually as we witnessed each scholar’s light shining!
Many thanks go to Dr. Jacqueline Greenwood, Nicole Haywood, Dr. George and Velois Rausch and Fred Hamilton for their continuous support.
For more pictures, check out our Facebook Album, here.