Fred Sturdevant, left, welcomes Robert Pickett to Sheridan Rotary and thanks him for his outstanding service as a first grade teacher in our community.
Fred Sturdevant, left, welcomes Robert Pickett to Sheridan Rotary and thanks him for his outstanding service as a first grade teacher in our community.

Not that it is a secret, but lots of people do not realize that in 2003 Sheridan’s Robert Pickett, a first-grade teacher at Sheridan Community Schools, was chosen as Indiana’s Teacher of the Year. That’s quite an honor for a humble gentleman from a small rural school corporation in Indiana who went on to represent his profession and his state nationally. Although he did not win National Teacher of the Year, he did represent the best of Indiana and the educators we produce.

Please understand that nothing about Mr. Pickett is ordinary; he is, in fact, a teacher of extraordinary skill who has touched the hearts and souls of hundreds of students over his teaching career. He told the gathered Sheridan Rotarians about the many, many occasions in which he has encountered previous students who remember what it was like to be in his class as a small child and the kindness and inspiration he bestowed upon them. Several of them went on to distinguished educational careers in their own right partly because of the example he set for them.

Several of the local Rotarians were able to share their stories about growing up in Mr. Pickett’s neighborhood. He graduated from Sheridan’s Marion-Adams Community School in 1975, earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ball State and eventually his Master’s degree from Indiana University. He began his teaching career straight out of college at the old Marion Township Elementary School. After 25 years he moved on Carmel-Clay Schools for eight years and then finally came back to Sheridan to the new elementary building in 2012. He retired this past May.

You might think that being chosen Indiana Teacher of the Year in 2003 and then given a chance to compete for National Teacher of the Year would be the highlight of his career. This unpretentious man will be the first to tell you, though, that the real highlight was the challenge of helping to grow eager young minds and fill them with the wonder of learning and understanding. Choking up at times as he spoke about his students and how he felt about them, one could understand why this man became a Teacher of the Year. He is a shining example of how we grow greatness right here in Sheridan.

Thank you, Mr. Pickett, for sharing with us Rotarians.

Sheridan Rotary meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month for a meal and a guest speaker or special program. Visitors are always welcome to attend our programs. Other Tuesdays of the month are reserved for various projects and administrative functions. If you would be interested in making a volunteer contribution to the Sheridan community, enjoying some great programs and interacting with some really nice people, you might consider joining us.

Our next program meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 7 and will feature a presentation by the Hope Family Care Center. They are dedicated to improving overall health conditions in Cicero and surrounding communities and they will share their story with Sheridan Rotarians and other interested folks. For more information about attending this program please contact any Sheridan Rotarian or contact Steve Martin at 317-758-5201. We hope you will come and join us for this informative program.