By Nicole Minier
CHURUBUSCO — Christmas came early for Churubusco-area residents ages 60 and up.
This fall, Smith-Green Community Schools distributed new “Gold Cards” to those living in the school district — allowing them free entry into all events at Churubusco schools.
The gifts were well-received by residents, many of whom hadn’t attended events at the schools in several years.
“We were so surprised and thrilled,” said Churubusco resident Viv Sade and former Churubusco News editor.
“What a wonderful thing to do for the senior (over 60) members of our community. Many of them live on fixed incomes and attending their grandchildren’s events takes a big bite out of their budget.”
SGCS Superintendent Dan Hile said he wanted to gift the Gold Cards as a way to help the community stay connected with what’s going on in the schools, and give back.
“At Churubusco, one of our biggest strengths is how involved and supportive the community is with the school,” Hile said. “I want the whole community to feel connected to what we’re doing, and it’s a great way to give back to folks who have most likely been to many events here — I want them to feel like we appreciate them.”
Hile has been at SGCS for 14 years and was named superintendent last summer.
“When I interviewed for this position, I talked a lot about re-engaging with our community, especially those who don’t have kids in the district anymore,” Hile said.
Along with the Gold Cards, Hile is working in other ways to keep the community connected. The district has more of a social media presence and mails out a regular newsletter.
The idea was welcomed by the athletic and fine arts departments, who are excited to bring more people back onto the school grounds.
There has been increased attendance in sporting events and many attended the fall show choir performance with their Gold Cards.
The only events not included with the pass are post-season athletic events, per Indiana High School Athletic Association guidelines.
The lifetime card was mailed to all residents age 60 and over whom the school had on record. Those who did not receive the card may call or visit the administration office.