We want to offer a huge thank you to the over 350 people who attended our 2017 Education Celebration, presented by BMO Harris Bank and Defenders, and to all of our sponsors who made the night such a huge success! We enjoyed a fantastic and inspiring evening, and hope you did too!

Below is just a glimpse of some of the most memorable parts of the evening, thanks to our friends at Kayla Lynn Creative.

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We were thrilled to be joined, for the second year in a row, by our amazing emcee, Weekend Sports Anchor Brad Brown from RTV6. We also heard from one of our long-time Barton Center tutors, Melissa, who shared the impact tutoring has had on her life, and about her relationship with the very first student she ever tutored, Trevon.

We were honored to present awards to many individuals and corporations who have made a huge impact in the lives of School on Wheels’ kids and the greater Indiana community:

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2017 Corporate Partner of the Year: RTV6
RTV6 has been a long-time partner of School on Wheels, making financial contributions each year, arranging emcees like Brad Brown for the annual Education Celebration, and providing critical media coverage of School on Wheels’ programs and events, especially during our Share the Love campaign this February.

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2017 Philanthropists of the Year: Carol and Brad Chambers
Carol and Brad have been supporters and friends of School on Wheels for over 10 years. For the last decade, their gifts of time, sponsorships, and in-kind and financial donations have enabled School on Wheels to enhance and expand programs and deepen our engagement with families.

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2017 Tutoring Team of the Year: Junior League of Indianapolis
The Junior League of Indianapolis is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The Junior League of Indianapolis has provided financial support to School on Wheels since 2005, and has been tutoring since 2011, with two teams currently supporting our partner site The Julian Center.

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2017 Tutor of the Year: Catherine O’Donnell
Catherine O’Donnell began tutoring with School on Wheels in September 2014, shortly after moving to Indianapolis, and has since tutored over 150 hours at multiple partner locations. Catherine always goes above and beyond for our students and, as result, has been awarded the Outstanding Tutor distinction at four different locations in the last two years. She is also the Chair of our SPOKES Community Outreach Group.

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2017 Education Champion: Cassie Brooks
The Education Champion award recognizes an individual who has devoted his or her time, expertise and focus in supporting Indiana youth and championing education. Individuals recognized for this award are nominated by community members.

Cassie Brooks is a Health and Physical Education Teacher at Brownsburg Middle Schools, where she began her career in 2000. A cornerstone of Cassie’s teaching philosophy is to engage all students in health and wellness regardless of their athletic ability. Her innovation and drive led to coaching a group of students through the planning and implementation of a “grab n’ go” breakfast program aimed at increasing access and reducing the stigma associated with food insecurity. Cassie plans to use her $1,000 award to launch a program that helps students faced with food insecurity create healthy meals.

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We are thankful for our friends from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for their amazing contribution to our live auction, and for the surprise visit of Doug Boles, President of the IMS, who helped raise money to help the students we serve! We also received a visit on stage from two of our youngest donors, Jimmy Saul, and his sister Anna, who gave us a live rendition of her British accent made famous during our Share the Love campaign this year!

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For this year’s event, our theme was simple: we wanted to share the hopes, dreams, and accomplishments of our students. Although our students couldn’t attend the event, throughout the evening, attendees were connected to the kiddos. From videos featuring our students and parents, to table cards featuring student writing, our students’ voices were heard.

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In addition to videos and table cards, we were excited to showcase our students’ artwork yet again. For this Education Celebration, our students were given the opportunity to create a work of art using the art of resist. In this year’s artwork, the resist material was oil pastel and the paint was watercolor. Students were given a circular template and asked to create designs in the blank spaces with the oil pastels. These oil pastel designs were illuminated when painted over, resulting in unique patterns that were highlighted both in the luminary centerpieces and these beautiful pieces!

Thank you, again, to everyone who attended the Education Celebration and helped us celebrate the accomplishments of our students, donors, corporate partners, and community members. With your generosity, we were able to raise over $285,000 to support our programs, including a generous match from an anonymous donor during our Moment to Give.

Thanks to our sponsors for helping make this event possible:

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Want more Education Celebration information? Check out our Storify for social media highlights, and be sure to like us on Facebook so you know when the pictures are posted!

The Education Celebration may be over, but there are many ways you can get involved! Apply to tutor during the 2017/2018 school year, collect donations of school uniforms for the kids in our program, or consider making a gift to help us start the 2017/2018 school year strong!