Approaching an Alumni Spotlight "intro", I try to avoid the dreaded first person pronoun "I" (most of the time). We have profiled many alumni here that I knew quite well as friends. I never needed to be part of their stories.
It feels different this month, writing about Joe Hale, (NAHS '67) and Sally Lewis Newkirk (FCHS '72). In the 50s and 60s, their families shuffled where they lived, within Floyd County. So did mine. This was not the same as what occurred in the mid-70s, when a great migration began, into southern Indiana. It lasted decades.
The Hale family, the Bickers family and the Lewis family were not part of that. All three families were quite "settled in" before the 70s began. The Hales moved to Altawood from New Albany in 1959. Joe was a fifth grader. There was no Floyd Central yet, so, in 1961, Joe went to Scribner, then on to NAHS. My family moved to New Albany in 1957 and my mother started teaching at NAHS. We moved to Buffalo Trails in 1961, and three years later; I too went to Scribner, just like Joe had done. Whereas Joe graduated in 1967… later that same year, Floyd Central opened. I started my senior high days there. The Lewis family was on a parallel track, moving "out in the country", just in time to go to the new school. Sally and her older sister Beth had been going to Hazelwood.
Did any of this foretell their career paths or mine? I don’t think so. We shared common roads, and all of that sticks with a person. To learn more about becoming a museum director, please read on.
Editor and contributor: Rex Bickers, FCHS ‘70
Joe Hale, NAHS ‘67
One key goal of all the arts and humanities is to tell a story. Creating and nurturing a museum is a mega-blend, combining the written word, the keen eye of the visual arts and the expressiveness of music, the stage and film. Over a span of nearly 50 years, Joe Hale prepared himself to hold his current position of the past eighteen months: President of The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
The foundation of Joe’s early career was in the performing arts. He’s a graduate of Harvard University's Institute in Arts Administration, following his undergraduate education at Hanover College.. He excelled as an educator (1971-1973 at FCHS and then, as a high school teacher of theater in Germany), moving on to management and leadership, with three years as executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council of Indianapolis.
Outside the arts arena, storytelling talent can manifest as abilities in sales, in business communications… and sometimes the “C-suite”, running a company. Joe honed those skills in commercial real estate, then ascended to VP and Chief Communications Officer of Cinergy Corp. (now Duke Energy). He went on to be President of Cinergy Foundation, while serving as President of Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company.
He provided leadership on countless non-profit boards and helped to oversee charitable donations of over 135 million dollars. In one exceptional example, he raised $250,000 for the March of Dimes by running 7 marathons in 7 months on 7 continents.
In 2016, Joe became Executive Director of The Dreamland, Nantucket’s year-round film and cultural center. Joe and his wife Linda have had a summer home there for decades. The Dreamland might have been his final employer, but happily… he was beckoned back to find his Hoosier roots again. Nantucket’s loss is Indiana’s gain.
Like many kids in Floyds Knobs, I knew Joe’s parents for years. His mother Peggy was an inspiration to many. I asked Joe to reflect on her life
He answered: “Mom and Dad were very committed to being Bulldog parents, before they caught Superhicks fever - - even more fervently, for my brother Jerry (FC ’71 and team captain). It would have taken much more than polio and a wheelchair to keep mom’s light from shining for all - - or from ever missing a game!”.
Sally Lewis Newkirk, FCHS ‘72
Sally Newkirk was inducted into the FCHS Hall of Fame in 2012 for her many awards and achievements at New Albany’s Carnegie Center of Art and History. At the Hall of Fame banquet, her profile in the printed program pointed out that two things appealed to her in high school - - community involvement and service to others. They turned out to be important building blocks of her career.
In 1980, Sally joined a dedicated group of volunteers who made up: the Board of the Museum (known as the “Floyd County Museum” until 1999). They were trying to save the original home of the “old library” and transform it into something that few could envision at the time. In a matter of years, Sally was serving as the board’s president.
In 1988, there arose some serious fiscal threats to the museum’s very existence. Sally was asked to serve as “interim” director for one year. That “interim” went on to last another 29 years. It was a counter-intuitive path to becoming a museum director. Sally chose to “grow the museum” while she grew her career there. She used what she found locally: subject matter, experts, organizations that stepped up to support her plans. In 1996 and 1997, she took a leap up the ladder of professionalism, completing Smithsonian Institution training in both museum management and management of collections. In 2006, she oversaw the Center’s most ambitious exhibit ever… on the Underground Railroad… then followed with other highly acclaimed projects, including “Remembered: The Life of Lucy Higgs Nichols”. She introduced New Albany to artist Penny Sisto, beginning with “Heartbeats: Art Quilts” and later collaborated with her on five other shows. Sally and the Carnegie Center took a step onto the world stage in 2008 when portions of Sisto’s Slavery series were displayed at the Royal Armories Museum in Leeds (England).
In 2019, the center unveiled the Sally Newkirk Gallery, a space for rotating exhibits from its permanent collections. In retirement, Sally has shown similar passions and enthusiasm through her involvement in New Albany Rotary. She and former Floyd Central teacher Mike Newkirk have been married for 46 years and they live in Louisville.
I wanted to know more about how the Carnegie Center took off at the beginning of her tenure there.
She replied “Building relationships within our local community was everything. The many, many teams of people who backed up what we sought to do - - they were just as vital to our successes as I was.”
I could generally use the same sentence to begin every issue of Alumni Spotlight: “Let me introduce you to some people that I really think you should know”.
With this month’s issue, there have been 65 profiles, submitted by myself, Tyler Bliss, and 12 guest contributors to date. That’s 65 down and about 55,000 to go. That’s an estimate of the total number of known graduates, faculty and staff - - living and dearly departed - - from our two (currently operating) high schools (and two closed: Georgetown High School in 1967 and the segregated Scribner High School, closed in 1952).
How are the choices made for individuals, profiled in this column? As the primary contributor to Alumni Spotlight, there has been a lot of discovery, for me personally. There have been new acquaintances and old friends. Since this newsletter launched in September 2020, three have left us and seven others were chosen intentionally, to be featured as fallen heroes.
Nineteen were people that I already knew personally - - in some cases, for just a few years… or over a span of decades for several others. Another fifteen or so, have been names that I knew in some capacity, and I’ve had the opportunity to now be able to call them friends. And I had never heard of almost thirty others. Most of the guest contributors were “drafted”; for the most part, they were people that I have only recently met.
Here is the complete roster of legendary Bulldogs and Highlanders from the first twenty issues of Alumni Spotlight, including the names of guest contributors.
Hall of Fame inductees are indicated by an asterisk
April 2022: Ann Riddle Riedling* FCHS ’70 and Ted Baldwin NAHS ’91
March 2022: Tommy Sheets NAHS ‘78 and Kim Nagel Hennessy FCHS ‘74
February 2022: Alan Zollman* FCHS ‘69 and James “Joey” Wilkerson, NAHS ‘01
January 2022: the New Albany 1967 tennis team (the late Sam Peden NAHS ‘67, Ray Briscoe NAHS ‘67 and Bill Ellis NAHS ‘67) with guest contributor Calise Peden Mossler NAHS ‘70 and the Floyd Central wrestling program from 1967-68 through 1972-1973 (FCHS coach Roger Moody NAHS ‘58, Rick Rowe FCHS ‘70 and others) with guest contributor Ken Hart FCHS ‘76
December 2021: Julie Guilford Collings* FCHS ‘84 and Steve Perkins* NAHS ‘87
November 2021: Joe Dean* NAHS ‘48 with guest contributor Dave Brinkworth NAHS ‘52, Ken Stiller (GHS/FCHS faculty/staff) with guest contributor Wanda Barnett FCHS ‘76, Lawrence Moore (GHS/FCHS faculty/staff) with guest contributor Judy Waltz GHS ‘65, Edgar “Eddie” Abell* Scribner High School ’43 with guest contributor Wilbert “Junebug” Hunter NAHS ‘71
October 2021: Letty Walter (St Mary of the Knobs faculty). Sharon Gardner* (FCHS Faculty/coach) with guest contributor Jo Ann Curry Stewart FCHS ‘74, Diana Adams Keithley* NAHS ‘61 with guest contributor Debbie Adams Adwell NAHS ‘74
September 2021: Susan Adams* NAHS ‘64 with guest contributor Kelly Clemons Kingsley FCHS ‘86 and Amy Hutchison* FCHS ‘87 with guest contributor Brad Hutchison FCHS ‘83
August 2021: The Wilson/McMonigle family, our Legacy 2021/2022 chairs: Charles “David” Wilson FCHS ‘71, Amanda Wilson McMonigle FCHS ‘94, Justin McMonigle ’94 and Drew McMonigle FCHS ‘24
July 2021: The Willman/Dblow family, our Legacy 2020/2021 chairs: Janey Willman NAHS ‘67, Marietta Willman, (NAHS Faculty), the late John Willman*, (NAFCS Faculty/staff), Rob Willman FCHS ‘88, Alys Willman FCHS ‘92, John Dablow NAHS ‘94, Joe Dablow NAHS ‘96 Jessy Spainhour NAHS ‘99, Lucas Willman FCHS ‘17 and Trace Willman FCHS ‘20. Our Rising Stars: Major Ricke NAHS ‘12, Brigid Morrissey FCHS ‘10, Bailey Duff FCHS ‘16, Dan Wavle FCHS ‘11, Danielle Cook NAHS ‘14, Amy Harpenau Miller FCHS ‘07, Jordan Striegel NAHS ‘12, Madison Baumann Striegel NAHS ‘12, Tej Azad FCHS ‘09 and Amee Azad, FCHS ‘11
June 2021: R. Gregory Neely* NAHS ‘67 and Larry Brumley* FCHS ‘71
May 2021: Tom Weatherston* (NAHS/FCHS faculty), Melissa Combs* FCHS ‘75
April 2021: Bobby Libs* FCHS ‘85 and Norman Melhiser* NAHS ‘53
March 2021: the late Lee Kelly* (NAHS/FCHS faculty) with guest contributor Chris Morris NAHS ‘79 and the late Ray Weatherholt* (GHS/FCHS faculty) with guest contributor Jessica Black Pugh FCHS ‘95
February 2021: Stephanie Wolz Eichenberger FCHS ‘81 and Dan Eichenberger* NAHS ‘81
January 2021: Wesley Jenkins NAHS ‘05 and Jessica Black Pugh, FCHS ‘95
December 2020: Susan Day Parr* FCHS ‘70 and John Moody* NAHS ‘54
November 2020: Amber Finley* NAHS ‘02 and Rick Miller* GHS ‘65
October 2020: Stephen Nale* NAHS ‘67 and Dennis “Dennie” Jenkins* FCHS ‘79
September 2020: Sherri Roberts* FCHS ‘87 and Jim Bright* NAHS ‘70
Total profiles: 65. NAHS Hall of Fame: 15, FCHS Hall of Fame 13. NAHS alumni 26, FCHS alumni 27, GHS alumni 1, Scribner High School 1; of the 55 alumni, 7 also served as NAFCS faculty. There have been 10 non-alumni profiled: NAHS faculty/staff 1, FCHS faculty/staff 1, NAHS/FCHS faculty 2, GHS/FCHS faculty/staff: 3, NAFCS faculty/staff 1, St Mary of the Knobs faculty 1
Guest contributors: 12 (NAHS alumni 5, FCHS alumni 6, GHS alumni 1)
Floyd Central High School’s marching band has reached a major milestone as the ensemble prepares for the biggest performance of the season.
For the first time, the Floyd Central Highlander Band & Emerald Guard has made it to the Indiana State School Music Association state finals in the Class A level with its show “Canary.” This Saturday, the band will compete against nine other high schools at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
To read the full article, click here.
Congratulations to the NAFC Education Foundation's November Great Classroom Project recipients! 19 projects were funded in NAFCS classrooms all across the district for a total of $12,323 this month. This program has provided over $77,000 in classroom resources this year and over $900,000 since 2011. Thank you to our generous Legacy NAFC members for providing for our students and teachers!
We are thrilled to announce our first round of Great Classroom Project grants were approved today! 65 projects were funded in NAFCS classrooms all across the district for a total of $36,722 this month. This program has provided nearly $900,000 in classroom resources since 2011. Congratulations to our outstanding educators and thank you to our Legacy NAFC members who make these projects and more possible.