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Crawford issues inaugural 'Greatness' awards


August 27, 2008
Having adopted the vision statement of "Growing Toward Greatness," the Crawford County Community School Corp. kicked off the new year by honoring both a business and an individual who has helped the corporation work toward that goal.

Community First Bank, represented by Eric Gilmore, and Kim Grizzel, executive director of the before- and after-school CARES program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, received the awards — wooden plaques with an engraved tree created by teacher Gary Sheller — on opening day.

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Kim Grizzel, left, executive director of the CARES program received the inaugural "Growing Toward Greatness" individual award, while Community First Bank, represented by Eric Gilmore, right, won the first "Growing Toward Greatness" business award. (Chris Adams)
Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge last week said the award is meant to show appreciation to businesses and individuals who have gone above and beyond the ordinary to help improve the school system.

"We wanted to pause to say thank you to those who went the extra mile," he said.

Community First Bank, dating to its days as English State Bank prior to merging with People's Trust Bank in Corydon in 2001, has given the corporation some $103,000 in SAT awards since 1990 and more than $100,000 in SAT awards and other projects, including the high school's distance learning program, in just the past seven or eight years, Gilmore said.

"The people that own (the bank) are very community oriented," he added.

Grizzel, a 1995 graduate of CCHS, helped save the CARES program a few years ago when funding issues made it likely that the program, which has sites at all five elementary schools, would close. A site manager at the time, she took the lead, as the program no longer had a director, while working with others to make sure that wouldn't happen.

"We were definitely probably a sinking ship grasping at straws," Grizzel admitted.

Impressed by her "dynamic effort" to keep CARES afloat, Eastridge, who had just taken the superintendent's position, recommended to the school board that she be named executive director, Eastridge said.

"That was one of my first decisions, but still stands as one of the best," he said.

Grizzel recently was named the regional coordinator for Southern Indiana for the Indiana Afterschool Network, an organization that is working to link after-school programs and make them stronger, she said.

Eastridge said state officials "absolutely rave" about the CARES program, and Grizzel noted that it has a good chance at receiving another federal 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant to be awarded by the state.

Grizzel said the grant would be for four years and five months and could be worth up to $400,000 for the first two years and five months and smaller amounts for years three and four. She said the grant would begin in January, with the announcement of the recipients this fall.

"We've been self-sustaining since before June 1 on fundraising and fees," she said, explaining new grant funds were held up on the federal level, even though the previous grants had been exhausted.

Eastridge said the Growing Toward Greatness award recipients were selected by him and the school board. The awards, he said, will be given annually on opening day.

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