Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Switz City Central grad to award scholarship named in his honor

Otto Hineman hasn't been to a class reunion since he graduated from the old Switz City Central High School 79 years ago.

On June 1, he'll return to the town where he graduated in 1928 to attend his first reunion.

“I didn't know until last year that they had anything like that (a reunion) down there. I'm going to attend this year.” he said.

The 98-year-old Rush County farmer and retired teacher will be the special guest for the Switz City, Central, White River Valley reunion to be staged at WRV school.

The reunion is held every two years.

A scholarship - recently established by the alumni association - has been named in his honor and will be presented to its first recipient this year. The exact monetary value of the new scholarship hasn't been established, but Sonja Hayes, one of the organizers of the alumni event, says the group wants to make it nice and is now accepting donations to benefit the scholarship from any alumni or area businesses.

“We wanted to do something. He (Hineman) is the only member of that first class still living. We are glad he can attend and three of his children are coming with him,” she said.

The recipient of the first Otto Hineman Alumni Scholarship will be Kevin Cross, the son of Dale and Carmen Cross, of rural Sandborn.

Cross, who is also one of two Greene County Lilly Scholars, will attend Purdue University in the fall and major in agriculture education.

The scholarship will be presented during WRV commencement exercises on Saturday and Cross will also get a chance to meet the scholarship's namesake at the alumni dinner June 1.

Hineman, who lives near Rushville, is the last surviving member of the class of 1928 - the first graduating class from the previous Central High School building that was constructed in 1927. The building was demolished and replaced by the current WRV Junior-Senior High School facility during the consolidation that took place in 1990.

Hineman, when contacted at his Rush County farm Tuesday morning by the Greene County Daily World, said he was honored to have a scholarship named after him.

“I'm surprised and happy they thought to do something like that. It's an honor to have something like this named for you,” he said. “I don't know what to say. I am very much surprised.”

Hineman and three of his four children plan to attend the alumni dinner.

“I'm looking forward to it. It will be nice to meet some of the people there,” he said.

He currently lives on his 250-acre farm - on which he still assists with the farming operation that grows corn and maintains a small cattle herd.

Hineman recalled that he attended all 12 years of school at Switz City and played baseball and basketball in high school under coach Jerry Wakefield.

The school principal was Mason Aldridge.

“I remember when the principal handed me my diploma he said I was the best little man he ever seen,” Hineman, who stood 5-8 and weighed 120 pounds during his high school days, said.

He also remembered some of his classmates and friends like Fred Bogard, Mason Holtsclaw, Reid Reagan, James Justice, Harold Nelson, Charles Hollars, Ralph Harper, Bill Atkins, Agnes Gibson, Wilma Swango, Austin Rodenbeck, Carl Neal, Albert Turpin, and Helen Streitimere.

After high school, he worked for one year before enrolling at Indiana State University in Terre Haute in 1930.

He recalls times were tough and he had to work and pay his way through school.

“I would go to college until my money ran out. Then, I came home and worked for farmers,” he said.

Hineman graduated in 1937 with a degree in business and physical education.

His first teaching experience was at Monroe High School in Adams County where he taught business subjects and coached baseball and basketball.

From there he taught at several schools in Johnson County before a farm accident changed things for him.

“I had an accident in 1946 involving a corn picker. I lost three fingers on my right hand so I was unable to type and teach typing. I took some additional training and taught elementary grades after that,” he said.

Hineman received his Master's Degree in education from Ball State University in 1966.

His last teaching assignment was at Neil Armstrong Elementary School in Mooresville - where he served for 10 years as assistant principal and a teacher before retiring in 1974 with 37 years of classroom experience.

Hineman's wife, the former Mable Dierdorf, was from Jasonville. He met her while attending ISU.

His wife died March 24, 2003.

They had four children - Carolyn Hineman Martin, Harold Max Hineman, Kay Jeanne Hineman and Mark Dennis Hineman.

The scholarship recipient ranks third in his class of 68 seniors with a 4.281 grade-point average.

He plans to be a high school agriculture teacher.

“As an agriculture teacher at a local high school, I plan to use my leadership skills and effective techniques of motivation to exert a positive influence in my community. By being a prominent leader in my community, I will promote only clean, powerful and positive activities and practices. I will also strive to generate more authentic leaders that will have the willpower and ability to become well-respected figures in their communities. I believe that my positive attitude during my career as a teacher will motivate pupils to reach their potential and become prominent leaders in their communities,” Cross said.

Cross has a twin brother, Kyle, who will also attend Purdue.

Kevin Cross has been very active in the White River Valley FFA program for the last four years and currently serves as chapter and District VII president. He also serves on the Indiana FFA State Executive Committee and the Indiana FFA State Special Circumstances Committee.

He also has been a member of the WRV Student Council for four years - serving as secretary in 2003-04; the National Honor Society and French Club for four years.

He's also a member of the Switz City Christian Church, where he serves as a church board member and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Among his volunteer/community activities, Kevin has helped glean vegetables for homeless shelters near Washington D.C. (2006), harvested and donated deer for needy families (2005), assisted with the collecting of fruit for area nursing homes (2006), has worked the Riley Children's Hospital Shoot and the “Lock A Load For Kids” programs at Triple H Gun Club, south of Linton - where he has been employed since 2003.

The banquet reunion event will get underway at 3 p.m. with registration followed by a tour of the current school facility at 4 p.m.

The dinner - catered by the Worthington Assembly of God Church - will begin at 5 p.m. It will feature barbecue or garlic and lemon pepper chicken breasts; ham with pineapple; or pasta with meat sauce; baked or garlic roasted potatoes; corn; green beans; layered salad; fruit salad; homemade bread; strawberry shortcake; angel food cake; cookies, pies and drinks.

A variety of past graduating classes will be honored - 60 years and over; 50 years (class of 1956-1957); 40 years (classes of 1966 and 1967); 25 years (classes of 1981 and 1982); and 10 years (classes of 1996 and 1997).

Cost is $12 per person. The deadline to register has passed, but Hayes said walk-ins will be accepted at the door.

Attendees are encouraged to dress in red, white or blue or in khaki or in a military uniform in support of the country and its troops, Hayes said.

“This year we want to have a patriotic theme,” she said.

For more information, contact Hayes at 659-3527 or 381-1441.
Source :