By Sam Elliott
Hamilton Southeastern High School government teacher, We the People team coach and social studies department chair Janet Chandler was presented with a Sagamore of the Wabash Award Feb. 21.
The recognition came as a total surprise to Chandler, who received the award during the school’s We the People team dinner and celebration.
“It was an honor,” she said. “I had no idea whatsoever I was getting it.”
A former student of Chandler’s, State Rep. Todd Huston, presented her with the award on behalf of Gov. Mike Pence.
“It couldn’t have come at a better place — it was in front of her students, it was in front of their parents, at Hamilton Southeastern High School by one of her former students, Todd Huston,” HSE Supt. Dr. Allen Bourff said. “I don’t know that it gets much better than that when you’re recognized by the governor, presented by a former student in front of your students.”
The Sagamore of the Wabash Award was established by Gov. Ralph Gates in the late 1940s in response to him receiving a Kentucky Colonel Award from the governor of Kentucky.
“The term Sagamore was used by the American Indian tribes of the northeastern United States to describe a lesser chief or great man among the tribe to who the true chief would look for wisdom and advice,” said HSE school board president Karen Harmer, who had done some research on the award prior to the Feb. 24 board meeting. “I thought that was the coolest part of this.”
The award is the highest honor the governor of Indiana can bestow to those who have contributed distinguished services in the state.