By James Feichtner
In business for business. That’s the motto of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce. And while the CCC, now joined with the Fishers Chamber as OneZone, may be primarily focused on perpetuating local business, the Chamber also has a passion for aiding in education.
Named after former Carmel chamber member Nancy Blondin, OneZone offers an educational scholarship to an outstanding student each year. Returning for it’s 15th year, the Nancy Blondin Scholarship offers a $4000 scholarship to high school seniors that exemplify exceptional standards in their academics and community.
The scholarship originally was started by the chamber, but was renamed in honor Blondin upon her retirement from the council in 2000.
“There was just huge tremendous growth, so Nancy was part of that building of the chamber and when she was asked upon her retirement if there were a legacy she would like to leave, it was for education, because Nancy was a former teacher and education mattered to her,” OneZone President Mo Merhoff said. “That’s when the Chamber’s Nancy Blondin Scholarship was born. It’s grown since and the amount that we provide has grown. We have aspirations to get much bigger. Now we give a thousand dollars a year for the four years students remain in school.”
In order for students to qualify for the scholarship, they must meet specific criteria when applying, but do not have to go to Carmel or Fishers high school.
“The specification is that the scholarship goes to the son or daughter of a chamber member, so it doesn’t matter where,” Merhoff said. “Our scholarship has gone to students at University, at Carmel, at Westfield, a variety of places.”
Students must also be active in both in-school and outside school activities in their community and must submit a written portion to the deciding committee, which includes Blondin as one of the judges.
“She has remained on our committees, so she helps us choose our winner,” Merhoff said. “We have a committee of people who review. We take a look at scholarship activities at need. And finally students are asked to wright an essay about a person who has most influenced them in their career choice. So those are the things we look for in selecting the recipient.”
“It’s the perfect way to recognize [Blondin’s] contribution to the business community,” Merhoff said.
OneZone is currently accepting applications for the scholarship. Registration deadline is May 1. For more information or to download an application, visit www.carmelchamber.com/about/Nancy_Blondin_Scholarship.aspx