Without a doubt, school's back in session at DePauw University. That's good news for Greencastle because with the return of students we are again reminded of their significant impact on our community.
The City of Greencastle is fortunate to be home to two major institutions of higher learning, DePauw and Ivy Tech Community College. In fact, our city is the only one of its size in the state to have two such options for post-secondary education.
We know that the students who attend these fine colleges -- not to mention their families -- make a major financial contribution to our community, by shopping in our stores and eating at our restaurants. What often goes unnoticed, though, is the students' contribution to making Greencastle a place we're fortunate to call "home."
Donta Goodwin is one of these students. He's become involved in community service through DePauw's Bonner Scholars Program. Through this program, students provide a service to meet Greencastle or Putnam County's social, educational or environmental needs. In return, these young men and women get a scholarship that helps them pay for college.
Donta, who is from Chicago, has focused his efforts on children and our local schools. He's worked as an assistant in a pre-kindergarten class; he created a dance program called "Step Into Color Dance Inc." at the middle school; and he's served as a choreographer for Greencastle High School.
To say that Donta has found his work rewarding would be an understatement. He says that he views some of the children he's worked with as the "little siblings I never had."
He describes the number of people who have inspired him as "boundless" and believes that those he has met here have shown him the true meaning of community.
Donta is not alone when he says that Greencastle is his home away from home. Others in the Bonner program have given their time and talents to the Greencastle Fire Department, the YMCA, the Putnam County Public Library, Asbury Towers, Johnson Nichols Health Clinic, Putnam County United Way, Putnam County Hospital, City Hall, Operation Life and the Greencastle Parks and Recreation Department, to name just a few.
You may have seen Donta and some of his fellow scholars around the city this summer, because the program also requires two summer internships over their four-year college career.
In the future, we'll look to highlight Ivy Tech students, as well as our Greencastle Community School students, who work to give back to our community.
Clearly, our students help tell the story why Greencastle is great.
This is the second in a series of features written by Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray for the Banner Graphic.