Thursday, June 3, 2021

SHS Recognizes ‘Unique Fraternity’

A pre-recorded message from Shelbyville High School chemistry teacher Josh Stacy plays at last night’s annual Top Ten ceremony in Breck Auditorium. | Kristiaan Rawlings

“A unique fraternity” is how Shelbyville High School Principal Brent Baker dubbed the group of ten seniors who sat on the Breck Auditorium stage last night. The annual ceremony recognizing the top ten scholastic achievers in the graduating class - each flanked by an “honored educator” who spoke about the student’s attributes - is one of the final events for the Class of 2021 before Saturday’s commencement. 

“There are two types of people: sayers and do-ers, and (valedictorian) Ethan (Aspley), he’s a do-er,” science teacher Chris Lux said. 

The same could be said for each member of the elite group on the stage, who were lauded for their academic accomplishments, community service and respect for others. Family members of those recognized, administrators and a school board member turned out for the two-hour program, which included a reception and speeches.

“I've been to a few of these over the years, and one of the things that strikes me is how rich our community is in talent, in intellect and work ethic, and also how rich we are in terms of community support,” social studies teacher Vince Bradburn said.

Below is a countdown, from the tenth-ranked student to the valedictorian. Each includes an excerpt from the honored teacher’s speech about the student.

10. Taige Mummert

  • Parents: Shawn and Melissa Mummert

  • Post-secondary plans: The United States Military Academy at West Point

  • Quote from Mr. Josh Stacy: “On my wall there's a saying - it's a Ben Franklin quote - it says, ‘Well done is better than well said.’ And you are the epitome of well done.” 

9. Macey Kuhn

  • Parents: Misti and Travis Kuhn

  • Post-secondary plans: Ivy Tech 

  • Quote from Mr. Rick Zimny: “She's a dedicated, ambitious, enthusiastic young lady. She asks nothing but the best of herself. She's a goal setter. She always works diligently to acquire and maintain those goals. She's a leader among her peers.”

8. Aaron Millitzer

  • Parents: Darren and Dawn Millitzer

  • Post-secondary plans: Indiana University

  • Quote from Mr. Vince Bradburn: “This night isn't just about these folks on the front row here, but it's also about those in the audience. This is a celebration of the hard work and sacrifice that you as families, you as caregivers have given. (To Aaron:) You have respect for others. You have an appreciation for our heritage and traditions as well as those of other cultures. You have an unrelenting commitment to excellence, and you embrace core democratic values, and you strive to live by them.”

7. Audrey Reinhart

  • Parents: David and Susan Reinhart

  • Post-secondary plans: Purdue University

  • Quote from Mrs. Rebecca Elkins: “Obviously, Audrey is really intelligent. However, what makes her outstanding is not the grades that she earns, but it's her character. The respect she shows her classmates, school and community is unlike any student I've ever had the pleasure of teaching.”

6. Libby England

  • Parents: Michelle and Keith England

  • Post-secondary plans: Indiana University Purdue University Columbus

  • Quote from Mrs. Arielle Nance: “She has a selfless attitude towards everything. She is someone that others can rely on and look forward to seeing on a daily basis. She always knows the right thing to say at just the right time.”

5. Christian DeRolf

  • Parents: Kenneth DeRolf and Cindy Sparks

  • Post-secondary plans: Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Quote from Mrs. Amy Fox: “He's always demonstrated a deep passion for knowledge. It’s so fun as an educator to have someone in class who wants to learn. His work ethic is absolutely insane.”

4. Adeline Haacker

  • Parents: Bret Haacker and Amy Haacker

  • Post-secondary plans: University of Vermont

  • Quote from Mr. Andrew Nance: “She has a heart for all people and advocates for those who won't or can't advocate for themselves. You're inspiring to listen to, and this world would be a better place if we all shared your same compassion for people.”

3. Grace Coomes

  • Parents: Tim and Brandy Coomes

  • Post-secondary plans: Purdue University

  • Quote from Mrs. Jen Teague: “What I realized about Grace, in particular, when some of the large-class distractions were removed, is this: Grace's voice is not quiet. She does not allow herself to be overshadowed. Grace wants her voice to matter, so when she speaks it’s always with thoughtful intent. It is always important and necessary. Grace's voice is powerful because her ideas and her perspectives are powerful.” 

2. Austin Perry

  • Parents: Rich and Paula Perry

  • Post-secondary plans: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

  • Quote from Mr. Josh Stacy: “I remember it was early in your freshman year, and you stopped by my room to talk to me. You told me you couldn't wait to have AP Chemistry next year. You may have been the only freshman to actually stop and talk to me all year; most of them were scared. You're always aware of what comes next.”

1. Ethan Apsley

  • Parents: Kent and Marsha Apsley

  • Post-secondary plans: Indiana University

  • Quote from Mr. Chris Lux: “He had perfect attendance. He was there, but then he was also present. You can show up but you’re not really there, like some of you right now, probably. He participates actively. He asks questions. I’m happy that he’s thinking about science, although he could probably study anything at IU. Science is about’s a process. IU is lucky to have you, SHS was lucky to have you and all your classmates, and we are certainly going to miss you.” 


  • The following building permits were issued in Shelbyville last month: pre-fab garage construction at 420 W. Taylor St.; a new manufactured home at 205 Heartland Dr.; a new storage building at Pools Unlimited, 1117 St. Joseph St.; addition to and remodel of existing gas station at Bonded Oil Company, 215 E. Broadway St.; remodel existing building for a butcher shop for Spegal’s Prime Cuts at 48 Public Square; new pavilion at 932 Belvedere Dr.; ADA ramp construction at 1203 E. State Road 44; deck addition at 2609 Berwick Dr.; new home construction at 319 E. Pennsylvania St.; above-ground pool house with patio at 103 Foxborough Run; remodel home and construct new walls for closets at 401 E. Franklin St.; solar panel installation on military maintenance hangar, aircraft maintenance hangar, and blue airport hangar at City of Shelbyville Airport, 3529 W 100 N; 13 new homes constructed on Bontrager Lane; and 8 new homes on Shaw Lane.

  • The following couples applied for marriage permits at the Shelby County Clerk’s office last week: Kenny L. Back, 33, and Teresa E. Hoots, 36; Terry J. Turner, 42, and Madel Cahigas, 37; Daniel S. Gregory, 27, and Anna R. Bauer, 25; Savannah E. Sant, 25, and Daniel Parsley, 29; Bradley A. Campbell, 24, and Alison N. Tomamichel, 21; Mark Horsley, 47, and Shagufta Tucker, 51; Scott E. Sorrell, 54, and Dawn Haygood, 56; Bryant A. Plymate, 33, and Britney E. Loller, 31; Shannon R. Tobin, 49, and Michelle N. Capps, 38.

  • The Fairland Fish Fry is set for June 18, 5 p.m.; and June 19, 11 a.m. A parade will be held on Saturday, 2 p.m.

  • As of yesterday, the state reported 4,987 positive coronavirus cases in Shelby County, an increase of 0 from the previous day, out of 19,974 tests, an increase of 18 from the day before. The number of deaths for Shelby County remained the same, at 97. The State lists 17,796 fully vaccinated people for Shelby County as of yesterday.

  • HOOSIER NEWS: Indiana University Health said Tuesday all employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 1. IU Health said in a news release, “Vaccinating team members is a safe and effective way to protect patients and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in facilities and in the community.” Consideration will be granted for vaccination exemptions or deferrals based on religious or health reasons. Those requests will be examined on an individual basis. (Indiana Public Radio)

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    “This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.


    News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.

    20 YEARS AGO: 2001
    Melina Ann “Mel” Fox was the first candidate to throw her hat in the ring for election to the newly-designated 6th Congressional District. Then-current 2nd District Republican Rep. Mike Pence already resided in the new 6th District. Fox had served for eight years by presidential appointment on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency State Committee. Fox was the first woman to serve as FSA chair.

    30 YEARS AGO: 1991
    A few days prior, Shelbyville Police Chief Bob Nolley made it clear to officers before new police cars arrived that the first to put a dent in the unblemished new vehicles would be in “hot water.” After spending the day preparing and wiring the cars for road work, Nolley was backing one up and nicked another car, causing “minimal damage” to two new cars. The Shelbyville News said Nolley told the story with “a bit of a frown, a bit of embarrassment and a bit of a sheepish grin.”

    Shelbyville Junior High School teachers met to clean out the Junior High for the last time. A cavernous dual purpose room served as the boiler room and a teachers’ lounge. Teachers used a refrigerator and microwave oven on one side of the room; custodians a work table on the other. There was no air conditioning but fans provided a breeze. “I’m not particularly sentimental about it,” teacher Roland Stine told The Shelbyville News. “I went to school here six years, to I.U. and then back here to teach. My God, I must be in a rut!” Stine had joined the teaching staff in 1963, the same year Jerry Higgins did. Higgins was in no hurry to leave. “Can you put any tears in your article?” he asked writer Jim Hall. “It’s going to be awfully hard for me to leave here today.” A photo accompanying the article showed teachers Martha Lisher, J.P. Slater and Laura Conn taking a break from cleaning in Slater’s science room.

    40 YEARS AGO: 1981
    Shelbyville staged perhaps the most awesome single batting show in Tom Hession’s long tenure as coach, ripping 20 hits off a Rushville staff that had pitched two no-hitters earlier in the sectional and all but wiping Greensburg off the map in the title game, 18-0. Nine of the 10 Shelby players who batted had hits and senior Rick Gill did an excellent job pitching. Jeff Miller had thrown his second no-hitter of the season in the sectional opener. Jeff Knecht and Joe McNeely had two doubles each. Bob Knecht, John McNeely, Pat Hartnett and Todd Bass had one double each. Darrell Tackett had four hits and scored four runs.

    50 YEARS AGO: 1971
    The Shelbyville Police Department received an IBM computer, to be leased for $4,630 a year. A grant was covering three-fourths of the cost. The computer was similar to one recently installed at the local license branch, complete with a database of information.

    60 YEARS AGO: 1961
    Miss Pat Graham, recent 1961 SHS graduate, received a plaque from Anthony Champa, president of the Lions Club, for five years of service on the junior Rec committee. Graham had been a member of the committee since it was formed.

    70 YEARS AGO: 1951
    Plans were announced to replace the covered wooden bridge spanning Lewis Creek on the Waldron-Marietta Road west of State Road 9.

    80 YEARS AGO: 1941
    Eighty county children received diphtheria immunization shots from Drs. R.W. Gehres and H.D. Miller, assisted by Mabel Bobbitt, Mrs. Gehres, Mrs. Fred Cramer and Mrs. Nellie Strait.

    A guy wire on the huge, 96-foot-tall center pole at the Shelbyville Gravel Company’s pits near the Vine Street bridge broke, allowing it to sway against the gravel bins. Fifteen years prior, while on the other side of Little Blue River behind the old “Dinky” factory, it fell, cutting a railroad box car squarely in two.

    90 YEARS AGO: 1931
    The tennis courts located behind the First Presbyterian Church opened for the season.

    After undergoing a thorough cleaning, the “old swimming hole” at Kennedy Park was opened to the public under the supervision of Alfred Campbell and John Degelow.

    100 YEARS AGO: 1921
    A petition was filed asking for “adequate service” at the Flat Rock Cave Telephone Exchange and the Waldron Exchange. Subscribers asked that a direct line connect the two exchanges. Petitioners asserted that calls were often dropped between the exchanges.

    Charles P. Sindlinger found a ring inside of a frog. Sindlinger had caught the frog along the banks of Brandywine. When he cleaned it, he found the gold and brass ring.


  • Theft was reported in the 11000 block of S. Main St., and 8800 block of S 350 E, Flat Rock; 400 block of W. Main St., Fairland; and 800 block of Highpointe Blvd. and 700 block of Center St., Shelbyville.

  • An indecent exposure incident was reported in the 600 block of River Rd., Shelbyville.

  • Jail Book-ins: Dana R. Dunn, 35, forgery, hold Rush Co.; Tawk N. Sang, 33, failure to appear; failure to appear; Hector Zepeda, 54, house arrest violation

  • A structure fire occurred at 642 Hodell St., Shelbyville. (Below: The structure, as of yesterday.)


    Arvenia “Beenee” Phillips, 94, of Shelbyville passed away Saturday, May 29, 2021 at MHP Medical Center. She was born August 14, 1926 in Indiana to Sammy Watts and Lovolia (Brown) Watts. Arvenia is survived by her children, Gloria Jane McDuffey, Sheryl Frost, Jeff (Leatha) Martin, Sr., all of Shelbyville and James (Pam) Martin, Jr. of Franklin, 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren, her sister, Tonya Harrison. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Leroy Phillips, her brothers, William Watts and Thomas Eugene Stadler, and her son-in-law, Doug McDuffey, Sr.

    She was a member of Second Baptist Church for several years. Arvenia retired from KCL Corporation in 1988. She enjoyed shopping and spending time with her family.

    Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 5, 2021 at Second Baptist Church, 34 W. Hendricks Street, and Shelbyville. Funeral services will follow at 1 p.m. at the church with Pastor Tony Lambert officiating. Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery. Funeral directors Greg Parks, Sheila Parks, and Stuart Parks are honored to serve Arvenia’s family. Memorial contributions may be given to Second Baptist Church. Online condolences may be shared at

    David Allen Gardner, 59, of Shelbyville passed away Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at his home. He was born November 6, 1961, in Shelbyville, the son of Keith Pitts and Violet Marie (Smith) Gardner. David is survived by his sister, Candice Ann Mullins and husband, Donald Eugene, of Shelbyville; nieces, Elizabeth Gail McKinney, Kimberly Dawn Hopper and Sierra Renee Nolley; and several great-nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents.

    David was a U.S. Navy veteran. He enjoyed going fishing, riding his bicycle, collecting coins and attending flea markets.

    Visitation will be from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, June 7, 2021 at Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville. Funeral services will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home. Interment will be at Miller Cemetery in Shelby County. Online condolences may be shared with David’s family at

Gene "Gene-O" Autry Burton, age 84, of Edinburgh, Indiana. He passed away June 1, 2021, at his residence. Gene was born in Columbus, IN, the son of the late Gordon and Ruby (Cook) Burton. He was married to Freda M. (Cosby) Burton on June 24, 1956. She survives. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Wayne, Alva and Dale Burton. Gene is survived by his loving wife, Freda M. (Cosby) Burton; children, Tony G. (Linda) Burton of Indianapolis, IN; Tena G. Durr-Edinburgh, IN; Troy G. (Angie) Burton of Mt. Auburn, IN.; grandchildren, Ashley Nobbe, Kayla Bloomer, Summer Burton, Austin Burton; great-grandchildren, Makenna Nobbe, Jacob Nobbe, Bella Nobbe and Matthew Bloomer.

He was a self-employed Auto Body Technician for 70 years and also a truck driver for Schumaker Brothers. He attended Columbus HS. Gene was also a member of the Shelbyville Apostolic Tabernacle Church.

Gene loved fishing, riding motorcycles, loved all sports and "tinkering" on cars. He also loved his family and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitation for Gene will be on Sunday, June 6, 2021 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Apostolic Tabernacle Church, 1500 Miller Ave., Shelbyville, IN. Funeral services will be on Sunday, June 6, 2021 at 7 p.m. in the church with Pastor Daniel McDonald officiating. Burial will follow on Monday, June 7, 2021 at 1 p.m. in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.