State Rep. Beck to present Maryann Chapko with Sagamore of the Wabash award on Sept. 28

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INDIANAPOLIS – On Sept. 28, State Representative Lisa Beck (D-Lakes of the Four Seasons) will present the Sagamore of the Wabash award to MaryAnn Chapko during the Crown Point School Board meeting beginning at 6 p.m. CT. Governor Eric Holcomb chose the Hoosier educator for her four decades of service in public education. Chapko recently retired after 24 years as the principal at Eisenhower Elementary in Crown Point.

“Being named by Governor Holcomb as the recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash Award is not only an extreme honor and privilege, but the culminating event of my career in education,” Chapko said. “I humbly accept this honor knowing that I was consistently surrounded by so many great teachers and principals throughout my career, who each deserve a piece of this award as well.”

“MaryAnn Chapko is the embodiment of the Sagamore of the Wabash award, and her dedication to our public schools has been invaluable,” Beck said. “I was deeply moved by the nomination letter from her husband, as the thousands of students ranging from preschool to college have been enriched by her service. Teachers are the backbone of our Hoosier State, and I am proud to present MaryAnn with this award.”

The Sagamore of the Wabash award states that the recipient is “distinguished by his [her] humanity in living, his [her] loyalty in friendship, his [her] wisdom in council, and his [her] inspiration in leadership.” Former honorees include astronauts, musicians and politicians. Sagamore is derived from American Indian tribes of the northeastern United States. It was used to describe a lesser chief or great man in the tribe to whom the chief could look to for wisdom, advice and guidance.

Read Chapko's nomination letter below.


February 25, 2020

Dear Representative Beck,

I would like to take this opportunity to nominate Mrs. MaryAnn Chapko for the Sagamore of the Wabash Award. MaryAnn has been a dedicated educator for close to four decades. She has worked with students at many levels from pre-school through college.  She has taught perspective teachers at Indiana University (IU) and as Director of the Student Teaching and Field Experiences, she has enabled about 1,000 college students to become successful teachers and administrators. She has successfully taught in private and public schools. Most recently, for the past 24 years, she has served as principal at Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School in Crown Point, Indiana. Her school, under her leadership, received the highest award an American school can achieve – National Blue Ribbon School status. She has also been named an Indiana Four Star School many times. MaryAnn was named the Inspiring Educator for the State of Indiana by AdvancEd, an international school accreditation program. Most recently, she was named the Most Influential Women in Education for Northwest Indiana. As you can easily see, I am exceedingly proud of my wife, and feel she would be an exemplary candidate for the Sagamore of the Wabash Award.

MaryAnn's life is inherently focused on the children, teachers, staff and parents she works with. She holds an intense passion for every child and works consistently to ensure their academic and social success. In the fall of 2012, she experienced a life changing brain accident when she suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage. Her family and her school community joined together to pray for her survival. She surprised her neurologists and all of us by her determination to return to work fifteen days later – just in time for her beloved all-school Halloween costume party, Ike Fright Night! It is simply pretty much impossible to keep her away from her students and school.

MaryAnn's latest focus is on her youngest students. In addition to running her K-5 school of 600 students, she is the administrator for the Early Childhood Diabetes program which serves preschoolers with developmental delays and disabilities. For the past ten years, she has also worked with many private preschool directors as well to ensure a successful transition to kindergarten for every child in the Crown Point School Corporation. Additionally, her dream of leading an initiative to ensure all children coming to school have had access to needed books for successful literacy development is coming true. She introduced the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program to the Crown Point Rotary and Crown Point Foundation. Funds have been raised to enable children from birth to age five to receive one hard cover developmentally appropriate book per month delivered to their home. Currently, over 450 students are enrolled in this program. MaryAnn recently made a promotional video which has brought in more funding to grow this valuable program.

I know this will be a difficult transition for her, but the time has come for her to retire and be able to spend more time with our family. Her final ceremony will be the opening of the school's time capsule, which she created and planted in the school ceiling with great ceremony twenty years ago. The students are already getting excited at discovering what the time capsule will hold when it is opened the last week of school. MaryAnn is just as excited as the children and hard at work on planning a special and most memorable experience for them. It must have been a memorable experience twenty years ago because several former students have approached her about coming back to Eisenhower School to be there for the opening!

For all of these reasons, I truly believe that Mrs. MaryAnn Chapko is deserving of the Sagamore of the Wabash Award. I have attached her resume for your review.

Sincerely, Max Chapko

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