The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Maddie Butler (center) was named 2019 Good Citizens winner by the Horseshoe Prairie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, on Sunday in Noblesville. She poses with finalists representing their local high schools, Hazel Burris (left), Hamilton Southeastern; Bridget Arnold (second from left), Westfield; Erin Stiner, Tipton (second from right); and Elizabeth Havron (right), Hamilton Heights. Other finalists were Ian Pence of Sheridan and Allison Crawford of Carmel, both of whom were not in attendance.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Maddie Butler (center) was named 2019 Good Citizens winner by the Horseshoe Prairie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, on Sunday in Noblesville. She poses with finalists representing their local high schools, Hazel Burris (left), Hamilton Southeastern; Bridget Arnold (second from left), Westfield; Erin Stiner, Tipton (second from right); and Elizabeth Havron (right), Hamilton Heights. Other finalists were Ian Pence of Sheridan and Allison Crawford of Carmel, both of whom were not in attendance.

Maddie Butler said her parents instilled in her the desire to help others.

“Service is a big value in our family,” said Maddie Butler, a Fishers High School senior who started volunteering in fifth grade for School on Wheels, an after-school tutoring program for Indianapolis Public Schools. 

Once a week, she tutored students affected by homelessness and who needed help with their schoolwork.

“My heart shattered for the young boy I was matched with who flew under a desk when he heard a helicopter fly over our study session, assuming it was the familiar ring of a gunshot. Yet, four weeks later, when the same boy made it through his first full chapter book after we had built his reading skills together, I realized the greatest talent or skill I could offer the world is compassion for and service to those whose potential may be otherwise overlooked,” Butler said.

Her parents, Christopher and Tracy Butler, who both work for nonprofits, both work for nonprofits, her mom the director of college and career counseling at the Indiana Institute, and her father is vice president of operations and executive director for YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. 
So helping others has always been what the family has done.

“Growing up, my family’s main values are unconditional love and unconditional support. We have a culture of a lot of love in our family...And because we’ve been given a lot of opportunities, it’s our duties to help others, to give back,” said Maddie Butler, winner of the 2019 Good Citizen of the Year Award of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Horseshoe Prairie Chapter. 

She accepted the Good Citizen of the Year award on Sunday afternoon during a special DAR Awards Tea at the First United Methodist Church of Noblesville. The Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest was also based on an essay, “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It,” which she stood and read aloud to those in attendance. All of the finalists had impressive resumes with many high school activities, achievements and areas of special interests, way too many to mention all of their accolades.

Each student contestant wrote an essay without the use of reference materials, according to contest rules. This year’s focus question was, “What new challenges will America face as we move forward into the future?” 

Noblesville’s Horseshoe Prairie Chapter of DAR presents the Good Citizen Award each year to one graduating senior.

Butler is a good student, but being honored as a DAR Good Citizen is so much more than good grades.

It means you've given back to the community, to your school, to your church and to your family, and that you were voted on by your peers and by your administrators.

While Butler’s biography runneth over with achievements, she is most proud of starting a foundation and raising money for the Shree Saraswati School in Nepal, South Asia, where she visited two summers ago. “I encountered people of warmth and richness, but my eyes were also opened to an abundance of need,” she said.

After visiting, Butler returned home to organize her first Coffee for the Kiddos fundraiser for the school and was able to fully fund a full year of school for 10 young women “who would have otherwise left school due to their families’ financial constraints,” she said. (The average dropout in Nepal is in eighth grade, she said.)

“Overall, service has been a primary commitment to my life, and I hope to continue to value the impact of working to benefit others,” Butler said.
Fishers High School guidance counselor Steven Curtis nominated Butler to represent FHS because she demonstrates the qualities of a Good Citizen and is most deserving of the recognition.

Butler is one of about 20 in FHS’s international baccalaureate diploma program, an advanced placement program in which takes courses in six different areas, from Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) fields to humanities classes.

Butler was one of two chosen at Girls State to represent Indiana at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation Conference and worked on a youth advisory board with State Sen. John C. Ruckelshaus. 

She is an athlete participating with her school’s lacrosse team. Butler is a member of We the People team, National Honor Society and French International Honor Society. 

She is president of her high school’s speech and debate team, made up of 150 students and is one of 12 students to represent the United States on Team USA Debate, a national debate team that travels the nation and world and competes in debates. 

Butler said her experiences in Nepal and traveling international with Team USA Debate has helped her to realize her desire to work on a global scale.
In college, she plans to focus on International Studies and French and Arabic, and wants to go into immigration law and diplomacy. 

In terms of patriotism, she said, “I have learned through my experiences at the Girls Nation patriotism program that patriotism is not blind loyalty to one’s nation but loving a nation enough to invest in its improvement as is constantly seen in the work of veterans,” she said.

What else? “I love art. I love painting. I love to connect with my family and friends.”

Other contest finalists representing each of their participating high schools included: Elizabeth Havron, Hamilton Heights; Hazel Burris, Hamilton Southeastern; Bridget Arnold, Westfield; Erin Stiner, Tipton; and Ian Pence, Sheridan, and Allison Crawford, Carmel (both of whom were unable to attend). Read more about each of the finalists in our Faces of Hamilton County feature in upcoming editions of The Times.

Elizabeth Havron, of Cicero, a 4-H’er and Hamilton Heights food pantry volunteer, plays varsity girls golf, is president of her school’s Business Professionals of America chapter, and is in National Honor Society. She and two friends wanted to do a fundraiser for Humane Society for Hamilton County, so they baked organic dog treats and sold them outside of Tractor Supply Co., and asked for donations, raising $300 for shelter supplies. She studied abroad in Spain with Indiana University Honors Program. After high school, she plans to attend Hamilton Lugar School of International Studies at Indiana University and wants to be an epidemiologist and create plans of action, policy and investigations to help control sickness in the world.

Bridget Arnold, of Westfield, a member of National Honor Society, is team captain of her school’s speech and debate team and a two-year champion of Rotary Club Public Speaking Contest. She plays soccer and has played tennis and basketball at WHS, earning two mental attitude awards in soccer. A 4-H’er of nine years, among her awards are grand champion of Poultry Showmanship her eighth-grade year, and the Indiana State Fair Public Speaking Contest winner in 2017. She is Girls Rock STEAM project director and a volunteer at St. Maria Goretti Church.

Erin Stiner, of Tipton, volunteers at Witham Hospital in Lebanon, is a past champion and reserve champion in 4-H Dog Obedience, is a lifeguard, a percussionist who was named Most Outstanding Freshman and Junior Pep Band Player, is a team leader in swimming, and is a Civil War reenactor. She plans to focus on women’s and gender studies at college and go on to law school to become a civil rights attorney.

Ian Pence has been class president every year at Sheridan High School, member of student council, a student-led Bible study, played varsity football through his junior year, and was on the varsity wrestling and track teams through his sophomore year. During his senior year, he is a peer to an elementary student. He plans to attend Lincoln Christian University and become a minister.

Hazel Burris, of Fishers, is a Hamilton Southeastern senior, earned a Varsity Letter all four years from the HSE Wrestling, for which she has been team manager. She volunteers for Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, Habitat for Humanity Club and has collaborated with other students and Sen. Jim Merritt to develop ways to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic.

Allison Crawford, of Carmel, a Girl Scout, pianist and vocalist who enters the baking competitions annually at the Indiana State Fair, is founding director of Carmel High School’s Theatre Outreach Day, music director at People Like Us at Gigi’s Place, president of Accents Show Choir and Rising Stars Drama Club, National Honor Society member, Greyhound Kickoff Mentor and member of ComedySportz Improv team.

DAR, a 122-year-old organization, is for women who can document descent from a Revolutionary War Patriot. People can research their ancestry at www.dar.org/national-society/genealogy. For more information, visit www.DAR.com.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com