By James Feichtner
It’s no secret that Zionsville Community Schools are some of the top-ranked institutions of education in the state, and with Zionsville Community High School ranked as a five-star school, alumni from ZCHS are proud of their academic heritage.
Some of these alumni are now men and women who have not only graduated from ZCHS, but continue to support the school long after they’ve left.
Since 2005, the Zionsville Alumni Association has been helping to propel Zionsville’s schools through various endeavors. From organizing class reunions to scholarships to supporting extracurricular activities, the members of the ZAA are proud to contribute to their local school systems.
“As a practicing professional I try to step up and be a major contributor to our schools through our band and orchestra, through the athletic department and various other groups, even down to the elementary schools,” ZAA co-founder Dr. Jim Haines said. Haines is the owner and founder of Zionsville Eye Care, and chose to stay in Zionsville after college to raise his family in the same place he grew up.
With all the hard work ZAA members have done for ZCS over the years, Haines and ZAA co-founder Tim Ottinger decided the alumni should be celebrated for their efforts.
Since the high school’s main sign on Mulberry Street is in need of reconditioning, Ottinger and Haines saw an opportunity to both honor ZAA members as well as benefit the high school by rebuilding the sign. Thus came the idea of creating Eagle Plaza.
“We started thinking about a way to both recognize alumni and also help raise money for the alumni association a year ago, and we looked at different places for projects all the way from the entrance of the high school to the little seating area they have,” Ottinger said. “Just by coincidence we looked at the existing high school sign by Mulberry in bad need of repair and looked at that area around that sign. It seemed to make a good case for a place where we would get a lot of visibility.”
With the current sign being more than 20 years old, Ottinger thought it was a perfect project for the ZAA. The sign will be renovated and surrounded by numerous paver bricks in the ground. Each brick can be purchased in the form of a donation and either two or four lines can be used for names depending on the size of the paver bricks. The bricks are meant to honor various alumni, but can also be reserved for loved ones or special individuals who didn’t graduate from ZCHS.
“We’re hoping people realize that it may be something not limited to themselves to do, but maybe to honor a family member or someone who has passed away that they would like to pay tribute to,” Haines said.
Both Ottinger and Haines said they believe Eagle Plaza will have a positive impact on both ZCHS and the ZAA.
“I think it’s important for Zionsville, for people that have attended Zionsville schools to stay attached, in some way or another, with their school system and a way to communicate with others through there, and a way to give back to the school in some way,” Haines said.
Ottinger said it’s just one way he hopes to leave a legacy.
“The Eagle Plaza is just kind of a place to show your Eagle pride and to give something back to the school,” Ottinger said.
With the school’s support as well as positive feedback from the community, Haines said he has high hopes for the plaza.
“We think that it’s going to be well-supported by the community,” Haines said. “The feedback so far has been great. When we made the presentation to the school board it was a unanimous vote to move forward with the plan and then the feedback from individuals has been really positive as well. I think that once we get it out in front of everyone I think it’s going to go very strongly.”
Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year. For more information about applying for paver bricks or other donations to the ZAA, visit www.zionsvillealumni.org.
- Recognition Pavers are available in 4 x 8 and 8 x 8 sizes.
- 4 x 8s are $75 and 8 x 8s are $150
- They may be purchased to recognize both personal or business support of ZAA and our schools.
- Information and online ordering is available at zionsvillealumni.org or by contacting Tim Ottinger at 614-0635 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 2005, the Zionsville Alumni Association promotes the embodiment of the spirit and fellowship of ZCHS alumni. The ZAA awards annual scholarships to ZCHS graduating seniors, recognizes outstanding ZCHS alumni via the “Soaring Eagle Hall of Fame” program, and hold the All Class Reunions over the years.