Despite a bizarre ending to their senior years, members of the Class of 2020 at Indiana University East and Richmond High School will have a permanent reminder of how much the community cares for them.
Two benches have been donated in honor of those classes, and they have been permanently placed outside Civic Hall Performing Arts Center at Richmond High School, 380 Hub Etchison Parkway.
Tim Scales, a senior lecturer at IU East’s School of Business and Economics, donated the two benches to celebrate the Class of 2020.
“I grew up in Richmond, have stayed here as a professional and I see this as a way of giving back to the community,” Scales said.
Scales said he has several reasons for making the contribution.
His primary reason for giving is that he knows many of the students graduating this year at both schools.
In addition to making connections through the classes he teaches at IU East, Scales serves as the advisor to many campus organizations, including Delta Mu Delta International Honorary Society, ENACTUS, the Stock and Investment Group, Economics Club, Emerging Technologies Group and CEOs.
And, at RHS, Scales is in classrooms often, teaching BOSS (Business Opportunities for Self Starters, an entrepreneurship program) and CEO (personal finance). He serves on the advisory committee for RHS’ Business Department as well.
The donation also provides Scales the opportunity to reflect on memories of his own graduations near where the benches were placed.
Scales’ graduation from RHS in 1982 took place at Civic Hall, then a gymnasium, before it was renovated into a performing arts center in the early 1990s.
And, when he graduated from IU East in 1991 and 1993, earning associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, those ceremonies took place at Richmond High School.
Scales also was motivated to donate in honor of the many years he has served on the Civic Hall Associates board of directors.
Civic Hall Associates, a non-profit organization, collaborates with Richmond Community Schools to bring touring performing artists from around the nation to the Richmond stage each year and provide educational opportunities for thousands of local students.
Members of CHA started a fundraising campaign for the benches in recent months called The Legacy Project, led by chairwoman Niki Phenis. Their goal was to provide places for patrons to rest and visit with other community members before and after performances.
“I think the benches at Civic Hall are a great addition to the tradition of giving from past graduating classes here at Richmond High School!” said Performing Arts Manager John Cook. “The benches are also a way to encourage visitors to socialize before or after events in Civic Hall or Richmond High School. They are a great addition to the entryway of Civic Hall Performing Arts Center.”
In addition to the two benches donated by Scales, a third bench also was generously donated by RHS choral students in honor of Randy Ecker’s 2020 retirement after 41 years of dedication to teaching music.
Solid bronze plaques to honor Ecker and the two groups of graduates are being placed on each bench.
The benches were installed just in time for RHS’ individual graduation ceremonies at Civic Hall, during which each student walked across the stage to receive a diploma.
Scales is hopeful that graduates will stop by Civic Hall and get their pictures taken with the bench this summer.
The high-quality benches will provide a permanent, positive memory for IU East and RHS Class of 2020 graduates for many years to come.