STATEHOUSE (March 15, 2009) - I offered several resolutions last week, leading the Indiana House of Representatives in honoring a dedicated Hoosier educator, a championship high school band and three successful auto racing teams.
· Chris Kates, a mathematics and social studies teacher at Avon Intermediate School East, who received a 2008 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.
· The Avon High School Marching Band, winner of the 2008 Bands of America Grand National Championships.
· Cruz Pedregon Racing, winner of the 2008 National Hot Rod Association funny car championship.
· Don Schumacher Racing for its racing season success, including a fifth straight NHRA top fuel championship.
· Screamin' Eagle/Vance and Hines team for its accomplishments during the 2008 racing season.
These are outstanding Hoosiers who have not only been successful themselves, but have improved lives for other Hoosiers. One of the most pleasant tasks as a state representative is the opportunity to honor people for the contributions they make to our state. These individuals and groups have achieved success on a national scale.
Mr. Kates earned the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award for not only his classroom expertise but also for his leadership and activities beyond the classroom. He was nominated for the award, without his knowledge, for the $25,000 award by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by the Indiana Department of Education.
The Avon High School Marching Band not only won the Bands of America Grand National Championship, it also took first place in the Outstanding Visual Performance Award and Outstanding General Effect Award competitions. The band competed against dozens of bands from around the nation to capture the awards.
Cruz Pedregon has been an NHRA driver, car owner and ESPN analyst since 1991. He won his first funny car championship, as a driver, in 1992. He won as an owner last November. Mr. Pedregon also has moved his racing operation from California to Brownsburg.
Don Schumacher had been an NHRA owner and driver until 1974, when he retired to spend time with his family and work in the family business, Schumacher Electric Corp. When his son, Tony, started his NHRA career, Don Schumacher Racing partnered with the U.S. Army to create a strong partnership. In winning the 2008 title for Don Schumacher racing, Tony Schumacher set top fuel records for most wins in a season, most consecutive victories in a season and most top fuel career world titles.
Several team members contributed to the success of the Vance and Hines motorcycle drag racing team. The most successful team in the history of the sport, Vance and Hines won its fourth championship in five seasons. The team also moved its headquarters to Brownsburg.
The resolutions, all heard Tuesday, were concurrent resolutions with the Senate; Sen. Connie Lawson was the Senate author for each of them.