December 2016 News

Academy BPA Students Advance to State Leadership Conference

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fifteen Academy students who constitute a Business Professionals of America club participated in the BPA Region 9 contest at Hagerstown High School on Saturday, December 10. Members of the club qualified in ten different events to advance to the State Leadership Conference in March.

Qualifying Events
Students advance to the State Leadership Conference from these events. Some events take the top 6 places, others only the top 3 places. Some team events take the top 2 places.

EventTeam MembersPlacement
150-Financial Analyst TeamAngela Cardwell, Ben Hiatt1st*
155-Economic Research IndividualBen Hiatt1st*
160-Economic Research TeamJuliana Qin, Kole McGinn, Isaac Taylor1st*
165-Personal Financial ManagementKatherine Klamer2nd*
205-Intermediate Word ProcessingKatherine Klamer4th
225-Advanced Office Systems & ProceduresAllison Johnson7th
230-Fundamental Spreadsheet ApplicationsIsabelle Turner7th
245-Legal Office ProceduresAllison Johnson1st*
250-Medical Office ProceduresJuliana Qin
Nikita Kumar
Jakob Barbour
Georgia Coffman
265-Business LawHannah Komanapalli
Isabelle Turner
500-Global Marketing TeamNikita Kumar, Ritika Mehta1st*
515-Interview SkillsGeorgia Coffman4th
525-Extemporaneous SpeechZackary Swoboda1st*
535-Human Resource ManagementRitika Mehta1st*
* Advances to State Leadership Conference

Open Events
These events open to anyone and not classified as advancing events yet each top 10 individuals receive medals and certificates.

EventTeam MembersPlacement
190-Financial Math & AnalysisHannah Komanapalli
Jian Tao (Isaac) Taylor
Zackary Swoboda
Nikita Kumar
Ritika Mehta
390-Information Technology ConceptsJian Tao (Isaac) Taylor
Nicholas Shaw
Nikita Kumar
391-Computer Programming ConceptsHannah Komanapalli
Nicholas Shaw
Jian Tao (Isaac) Taylor
590-Business Meeting ManagementNicholas Shaw
Hannah Komanapalli
591-Management, Marketing & Home Resource ConceptsNicholas Shaw
Nikita Kumar

2017 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Senior Ritika Mehta is awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship

Ritika Mehta, senior, has been named a recipient of the 2017 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. The scholarship grants full tuition to any accredited public or private college/university in Indiana as well as covering fees and providing an annual stipend for required books and equipment. Ritika has a 4.0 grade point average, and she plans to study finance and marketing possibly at IU Kelley School of Business or Notre Dame.

Ritika is the daughter of Rajeev and Rashmi Mehta. She is a volunteer and youth coordinator for the South Asian Muncie Association (SAMA). For several years, she has organized activities for younger children and choreographed and performed dances for the annual SAMA event. This has been a compliment to her practice of Kathak (Indian Classical Dance) which she has done for six years. Ritika is also a member of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Model United Nations, Academic Super Bowl, Environmental Club and Student Parliament. She has won multiple awards in the Science Olympiad and in essay contests.

In selecting Delaware County Lilly Endowment Community Scholars, consideration is given to student activities and achievements, community and civic service, academic ability, and the potential for leadership. Ritika was chosen out of an applicant pool of 76 impressive candidates from high schools across Delaware County. After the field of school nominees was narrowed to two, the finalists’ names were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for approval. ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. The scholarships are a result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education.

Indiana Academy Instructors Awarded Robert P. Bell Education Grants

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Robert P. Bell Education Grants are awarded to teachers and counselors for innovative ideas, programs, or classroom projects. Administered by the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, four Indiana Academy faculty members, Michael Mayfield, John Marsh, Jennifer Robinson, and Les McSparrin were awarded a Bell Grant.

Students in the Human Anatomy and Physiology course taught by Michael Mayfield, instructor of life sciences, are studying the human cardiovascular system. As part of this study they will be dissecting a preserved sheep heart and illustrating the external circulation and internal structures. They will use computerized probeware to produce a three lead ECG (electrocardiogram) of their own heart. To help in mastering the material, they will transfer their drawings onto the front of a t-shirt along with a tracing of their ECG on the back. From this activity, Mayfield hopes the students will better understand the physical structures of the human heart and the flow of blood.

John Marsh, instructor of history, is another recipient of the Bell Grant. Marsh created a mock election process that expanded beyond the standard classroom teaching on the nomination process, electoral college, candidates, and issues. Students trained in the roles of the various poll workers, and then the polls were open during the nearly identical period as the official polls in Indiana on Election Day. Students followed the complete procedure when they came to vote. Through hands-on participation and responsibilities, the end result for students was a broad understanding of the election laws and procedures regarding this most central of citizenship rights.

French Instructor, Jennifer Robinson, instructor of French, had a variety of things happening during National French Week (November 4-10) and the grant assisted with and Arts & Crafts event during that week. For that event students focused on the hand-painted pottery traditions in the Brittany region of France. Their pottery pieces were decorated using permanent markers, and they created personalized signatures following the example of the true Quimper artisans. Finally, to extend the reach of this project beyond the walls of the Academy, each student made one pottery item for themselves and a second to offer to someone in the community. Each item includes a student-produced card explaining the Quimper tradition, an explanation of the significance of the chosen design, a brief biography of the student artisan, and some facts about the French language.

Students in biochemistry are embarking on a 5-7 week course with Les McSparrin, instructor of chemistry, to explore a real-world laboratory project that is problem based. The students will be isolating the DHFR protein from transformed E. coli colonies. What makes this a “real-world” project is that the students will be using the same procedures and apparatuses that are currently in use in biotechnology labs across the United States. Student won’t just be learning about the function of the protein itself, but they also will be learning techniques that will carry over to college and/or the workplace. Since the field of biochemistry and biotechnology is growing at such a rapid pace, students will have a considerable advantage over other students who don’t have this skill set upon graduation. He wishes to enhance in-class discussions of DHFR and other protein folding with hands-on experiences.

Indiana Academy Ranked Best High School in Indiana

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

For the third consecutive year, the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities is ranked the No. 1 Best Public High School in Indiana. In addition, Indiana Academy is ranked No. 3 Best Public High School in America (up from 21st in 2016), and our teachers are ranked No. 2 nationally for Best Public High School Teachers (up from 7th in 2016.)

The rankings just released from Niche ( are based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, and high school ratings.

Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Exchange Program

Monday, October 31, 2016

African Guests visit the Indiana Academy

For the third year in a row, Ball State University’s Center for International Development (CID) was selected to host the Pan-Africa Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP), a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Selected students travel to the United States in the spring, summer, and fall each year. From October 12 through 25, 72 African high school students and adult mentors from Benin, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger visited the Ball State campus and the Indiana Academy.

After four days spent in Washington, DC learning about U.S. history and culture along with our nation’s system of democratic governance, they spent two weeks at Ball State University. On the university campus participants discovered what classroom-based lectures are like, experienced training and simulations focused on social entrepreneurship, attended interactive workshops, and were involved in community engagement. The participants also had time for site visits, cultural and volunteer activities, and speaking engagements which provided hands-on learning opportunities for skills application and networking.

Early in their visit, Indiana Academy students joined the exchange students for lunch and attended a panel discussion with them. Our students and the visiting exchange students were able to get to know one another through conversations on their cultures, lifestyles, interests, and current events. For French instructor Jennifer Robinson this was an extremely valuable opportunity. “So often people don’t realize that French is spoken in over 40 countries around the world,” Robinson said. “So having student representatives from six francophone countries in Africa visit our school really makes learning French relevant.” Our students also benefit from the international interactions. Indiana Academy student Katie Kolozsvari summed up the experience, “I loved being able to use my French with native French speakers, and it was amazing to be able to learn about the different current events in the countries that were represented.”

Lilly Grant Makes Filmmaking Dream a Reality for David Haynes

Friday, October 28, 2016

It’s been a little over a year since David Haynes, Instructor of English at the Indiana Academy, received a chance at his longtime dream to bring a film to production. Haynes and his collaborator on the film, Anthony Collamati, Associate Professor of New Media at Alma College, produced a short thriller titled Break My Bones, that was funded by a Lilly Endowment grant and a Kickstarter campaign.

According to Haynes, “the kickstarter before the Kickstarter” was receiving the $10,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program in 2015 followed by raising an additional $10,00 through a Kickstarter campaign. That money helped pay the cost of film production, including salaries for professional cast and crew members, and developing the movie in a post-production studio. The shoot itself lasted only five days and took place entirely in Muncie. “To have helped to create Break My Bones, for all its strengths and flaws as a short film is to have begun the process of fulfilling a lifelong dream,” Haynes said.

So far, Break My Bones has played at the Rhode Island International Film Festival (tied for first in “best cinematography”), the Hollyshorts Film Festival in Hollywood (won “best thriller”), the Fantasia International Film Festival (Montreal, Canada), and the Oaxaca Film Festival (Mexico).

Before the end of 2016, the film will also play in southern Italy at the Pentedattilo Film Festival and in southern France at the Festival Tous Court, Aix-en-Provence, ranked one of the top 25 short film festivals in the world.

Haynes has discussed screenplay writing and filmmaking with his students, and his creative writing classes have the opportunity to work on a short film screenplay towards the end of the semester. He hasn’t been able screen the 23 minute film for students or faculty yet because the filmmakers have to be careful about screenings in order to qualify for festival consideration at many places. However, there are plans to show the film somewhere in Muncie in the near future.

More information about Break My Bones is available on the film’s Facebook page ( and website (

Plato on Trial

Friday, September 30, 2016

Academy students assembled in the quad
Overlooking the wave of students while dressed in a white sheet, the Chief Archon (Dr. Arnold) addresses the political philosophy of Plato.

“It has come to our attention that one Aristocles, popularly known as ‘Plato,’ has been teaching at the grove of Akademos in the sanctuary of Athena to the north of the city proper.”

Students at the Indiana Academy have once again been summoned to the turtle in the yard between Burris Laboratory Schools and Ball State University’s Elliot Hall to participate in the Academy’s annual event, The Trial of Plato.

Students grabbed their sheets, ropes, and other ancient accessories then headed down to the yard where they were to be considered citizens of the ancient democratic Athens. Students salvaged around their dorms, friend’s dorms, and various other places to find articles that could create an outfit fit for the Athenian world.

Everyone present became a member of the Assembly where they discussed and debated the political philosophy of Plato.

What’s the issue?

Plato would regularly lead discussions on all sorts of topics that were sought to have no sense of propriety or recognition of the limits of public discussion, especially with young men present at the Academy.

The people of Athens received details of these discussions with regard to the right governing of a city. The magistrates got possession of written transcripts purporting to be Plato’s accounts of his own teacher Socrates’ ideas on this topic; all citizens were then advised to review the public copies of these alleged teachings.

Socrates, though a veteran of the fight against the Persian foe at the battle of Delion and elsewhere, and thus a good patriot, came under suspicion of teaching against the democracy (and worse), was convicted by a jury of his peers, and then chose a draught of hemlock to escape that judgment.

A possibility of Socrates’ ideas not dying with him arose. The fear of these political ideas has caused a necessary meeting and trial of Plato in which the students are engaged.

2016 Graduate Named Davidson Fellow

Friday, September 30, 2016

Justine Izah, a 2016 graduate from the Indiana Academy has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. She is one of 20 students to be awarded this honor and the only one from Indiana

Justine transferred her junior year from La Lumiere School in LaPorte, Indiana. She began attending Indiana University this Fall with 22 transferable credits and hopes to major in sociology and neuroscience with a minor in social work.

Justine is a published author and past president of the Academy’s Third Wave Feminism Club. She has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development based on her project, “An Examination of Black Liberation, Stereotypes, Healthcare and Education Through the Eyes of a Black Woman.” She is one of 20 students to be awarded this honor and the only one from Indiana. She has also been awarded the Nagubadi Family Scholarship and the Provost Scholarship from Indiana University.

Justine’s project is an intense study of blackness and the computation of what centuries of oppression has caused. Justine explored the racial disparities facing black people, specifically women, and the inequities they experience in education, health care, and economic status. Inspired by her own experiences, Justine hopes that her research will shed light on the black experience and create empathy in non-black readers.

In addition to her interests in writing and political activism, Justine also enjoys sewing, fitness, and music. She has been involved with Girl Scouts, South Shore Leadership Youth for Community Engagement, National Spanish Honor Society. While at the Academy, she was in the Science Olympiad, Spanish Club, and Third Wave Feminist Club.

United Way Day of Action

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Academy Day of Action Crew

Thousands of people in more than 300 communities across the world volunteer through United Way to make their community a better place through Day of Action.

For Delaware County’s Day of Action 2016, there were a total of 197 volunteers who donated 694 hours of their time at 16 different nonprofit sites. Together, they were able to make an economic impact of $15,746.86! The Indiana Academy provided almost 50 of those volunteers, which ended up being the biggest group for the third year in a row!

The students apart of the morning shift started out their day by going to the Horizon Convention Center to enjoy a complimentary breakfast while attending the United Way’s Campaign Kickoff Celebration. From there, they went to the Alpha Center to volunteer. The Alpha Center provides adult day care services in a safe and fun environment for senior citizens who cannot be safely left on their own. This allows their family members and regular caregivers a much needed break for rest, work, errands and other activities. The students assisted with yardwork, pressure washing and painting, plus some even got the opportunity to work one-on-one with senior citizens making birdfeeders.

The next shift of students helped out at the Second Harvest Food Bank. They are a food distribution center that helps individuals and families who are food insecure. There, the students spent their shift sorting food and checking for freshness.

About the United Way of Delaware County

United Way of Delaware County, Indiana engages the community to improve lives by focusing resources on health, education, and financial stability. It also works to create lasting change in community conditions. Learn more at

2017 National Merit Commended Students

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Indiana Academy congratulates the following seniors who have been named Commended Students in the 2017 National Merit Program:

Robert Belin
Ellen Hine
Nikita Kumar
Ritika Mehta
Mariah Murray
Michelle Rodriguez
Sophia Schnake
Alexis Skidmore
Van Vandergriff