The Hamilton County Leadership Academy graduates its 500th student: Carmel resident Marcilynn Keys
The Hamilton County Leadership Academy hit a milestone Thursday, graduating its 500th student and 21st class.
Marcilynn Keys, a community volunteer from Carmel, earned the distinction of being the nonprofit’s 500th graduate. She was presented with a certificate by Ellen Rosenthal, president and CEO of Conner Prairie. Keys has been an active member of the Conner Prairie Alliance, a women’s service group dedicated to supporting the mission of the interactive history museum.
“It’s a testament to the program that it’s been around for 21 years and we now have more than 500 graduates who have gone on to serve the community in a variety of ways,” said Jill Doyle, executive director of the HCLA.
The recognition of the 500th graduate came during a ceremony for the graduation of the HCLA Class of 2012, the members of which ranged from assistants to U.S. senators to executive directors of nonprofits themselves.
Learning to lead
The HCLA was founded in 1991 to “educate and inspire leadership to create a positive impact in our community.” To do that, the 10-month program introduces students to the inner workings of government and nonprofits. Students are also asked to develop a service project, which they work on throughout the academy.
This year’s service projects included a community garden in Noblesville, support for Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Project and assistance for the Carmel-based Midwest Academy in its search for a potential new home.
The academy, which serves 95 students who’ve “fallen in between the cracks because they learn differently,” is currently located at 801 Congressional Blvd., in Carmel.
“Midwest Academy thinks they may need to be out of their current space by the end of the year … and even if they don’t, they don’t have the space to take on any new students,” said Kevin Kane, a member of the HCLA group working with the academy and former managing editor of Current in Carmel. “The staff felt they couldn’t devote the time needed to look for a new location without a negative impact on the students.”
So, Kane and the rest of his HCLA group, composed of Heidi Abel, Lisa Dick, Patricia Gamble-Moore, Joanne Hogle, Darlene Lorenz and Kanwal Sidhu, decided to undertake the search on behalf of the school.
“What we did was offer to do the legwork for them to begin looking at possible locations, based on their needs and financial situation,” Kane said. “For the most part, these buildings aren’t listed, so we used our contacts and knowledge of the community to help them out.”
The group’s final report consisted of five available locations it felt would be a good match for the school, and a number of others which they had ruled out to save the school time in its search process.
“(HCLA) was a great experience,” said Joanne Hogle, a program advisor for the Community Assistance Program and member of the Midwest Academy group. “I didn’t realize how you would actually get to go in and see what was going on. The curriculum was just planned so well. Every month I would think it was the best class, until the next one. I highly recommend it.”
Thursday’s graduation ceremony ended with a send-off from Mike Engledow, a principal at arcDesign and HCLA curriculum dean.
“If this class is the future of leadership in Hamilton County,” Engledow said, “we’re in good hands.”
The Hamilton County Leadership Academy is currently accepting applications for its 2013 class. Applications will be accepted until June 30, and can be found online at www.hcla.net.
HCLA Class of 2012
Manager, Emergency Services
Business Banking Relationship Manager
Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim
Special Asst / Systems Administrator
U.S. Congressman Dan Burton
BLACK BULL Group
Central Indiana Community Foundation
Technical Services Manager
Carmel Clay Public Library
Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership
Market Manager / Assistant VP
The Farmers Bank
Carmel Dads’ Club
Community Assistance Program
The Anderson Corporation
Corporate Giving Officer
The Center for the Performing Arts
Director of Information Technology
Noblesville Fire Department
Banking Center Manager
First Merchants Bank
City of Westfield
Director of Member Services
Noblesville Chamber of Commerce
Serenity Medical Center
Forum Credit Union
Financial Partners Group
Executive Director of Business and Operations
Westfield Washington Schools
Chief Investment Officer
Bedel Financial Consulting