Keegan Lawhead (middle row, center) is 2019 winner of the Hamilton County Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ 26th annual Hamilton County Youth Service Award. Senior applicants/finalists from five other county schools include: Margaret Roush (front row, from left), Westfield; Kathryn Reinke, Carmel; and Hannah Schafer, Hamilton Heights; Ally Harp (middle row, left), Noblesville; and Caleb Duke (middle row, right), Sheridan. Council executive director Monica Greer led the program, and awards were presented by County Commissioners Christine Altman (back row, middle); Steve Dillinger and Mark Heirbrandt.
Keegan Lawhead (middle row, center) is 2019 winner of the Hamilton County Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ 26th annual Hamilton County Youth Service Award. Senior applicants/finalists from five other county schools include: Margaret Roush (front row, from left), Westfield; Kathryn Reinke, Carmel; and Hannah Schafer, Hamilton Heights; Ally Harp (middle row, left), Noblesville; and Caleb Duke (middle row, right), Sheridan. Council executive director Monica Greer led the program, and awards were presented by County Commissioners Christine Altman (back row, middle); Steve Dillinger and Mark Heirbrandt.
Keegan Lawhead’s Boy Scout Eagle project was one of the largest and most ambitious in Hamilton Southeastern Schools’ history, and it allowed him to give back to his former elementary school.
“It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” said the 18-year-old, who built a nature trail through the woods behind Fall Creek Elementary School in Fishers.
He is hopeful that his Scout project might be an inspiration to other students and that they will see there is more to do in their teen years than taking drugs and alcohol.
Working together with his troop members, leading the project, he believes will “help generations of students who come through my former elementary.”
Lawhead, a Hamilton Southeastern High School senior, who has made a strong commitment to be alcohol and drug free -- and one of the most well-rounded and involved students at school, according to his guidance counselor -- was named the 2019 winner of the Hamilton County Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ 26th annual Hamilton County Youth Service Award. He was selected from among six applicant finalists -- each of whom are positive examples of a service leader -- representing their six school districts in Hamilton County.
“It means I’ve accomplished a lot,” said Lawhead, who on Monday was presented the award by Hamilton County Commissioners Christine Altman, Steve Dillinger and Mark Heirbrandt.
He was recognized for his outstanding service to our community while choosing a drug-free lifestyle and contributing time to make positive changes in the lives of others.
“I’m so grateful for this award. Seeing all of these wonderful people out here helping the community of Hamilton County. It’s amazing. I am astonished that I am able to receive such an honor today,” said Lawhead, the son of Chris and Courtney Lawhead, the oldest of four siblings, Sydney, 15, Evan, 12, and Spencer, 9. He will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
“I’ve accomplished a lot and have been able to make myself a very good role model for not only my siblings but those I know around me and my friends and family,” he said.
In Scouting, he has held several leadership positions, attending National Youth Leadership training and other conferences, and earned the distinguished special rank of Firecrafter.
Besides Scouting, he is on his high school rugby team and wrestling team, which helped deter him from using drugs and alcohol.

How else does he keep busy? He had a lead role in “Iris,” a full-year student movie project in 2018 through Olio Road Productions, his high school’s film production company. He is a rock band guitarist and singer through School of Rock, which requires all band members to sign a pledge to be drug and alcohol free. He works part time at Fresh Guacamole & More. He built Keegan Lawhead Lawn Care Services and generated an income to self-fund two trips to Japan.
After graduation, he plans to attend Indiana University, with an undecided major, and plans to continue to play rugby and be a referee.
“I’m extremely proud of him,” Chris Lawhead said of his son, after hearing qualities of the six applicants. “He’s been a pleasure to raise.”
“There are a lot of things about raising a teenager that are hard, and he’s not always perfect. But the things they said about him today are true,” the dad said.
The Lawheads agreed that the greatest qualities that they instilled in their son was “respect and kindness.”
Keegan said, “Be kind to all” is what they taught him. “My parents are very respectful.”
The Council on Alcohol and other Drugs, Hamilton County Commissioners and the county public schools co-sponsor the Youth Service Award program, which recognizes outstanding service by youth in our community.
“We are proud of each of the applicants that have chosen to lead a drug-free lifestyle and contributing their time to help make positive changes in the lives of others,” said Monica Greer, who took over as executive director of the Council in March 2018. She replaced retiring George Kristo, who founded the Council in 1996.
Each school winner was selected by their school’s counseling department. Each school submitted its winner’s name and application. A selection committee made up of employees of the probation department screened the applications using a set criterion to select an overall winner of the $1,000 scholarship awarded by the Council
Other accomplished seniors who represented each of their participating high schools and who are role models for other students, encouraging them to remain drug and alcohol free, include:
*Carmel -- Kathryn Reinke, a Carmel High School senior, is a member of DECA (a nonprofit career and technical student organization) and also Project Shine, Young Life, National Honor Society and Carmel Education Foundation. She and her project partner created the I AM (Original) campaign, a mental health awareness project that was implemented district wide. She is a WyldLife mentor, a high school cheerleader and Independent Research student. She often seeks opportunities to give back and has done so in a variety of unique and significant ways. “She understands that building strong relationships is the first step in leading others toward positive choices and creating a safe environment for her school community and the community at large,” her school guidance counselor said.
*Hamilton Heights -- Hannah Schafer, a Hamilton Heights High School senior, plays clarinet and oboe in her school’s concert and marching band, is in Spanish Club, World Citizen’s Club, Drama Club, National Honor Society, Speech and Debate Club and Business Professionals of America, the latter of which she was a national qualifier during two consecutive years She works part time at Sullivan Hardware and Garden in Cicero. She believes it’s important for herself and her peers to keep busy with work and activities so they won’t find themselves getting into the wrong crowds and tempted with alcohol or drug use. Her greatest accomplishment is assisting four years with her school-based food pantry of which she served as president for one year. Her peers look to her for wise and mature decision making, her school guidance counselor said.
*Noblesville -- Ally Harp, Noblesville School senior, is a current Girl Scout Ambassador and senior class senator. She has been in Girl Scouts since kindergarten, with leadership opportunities in several community service projects. She has also completed community service projects through National Honor Society and Key Club and is a leader and mentor to the younger players on her lacrosse team. As class senator, she organizes events and helps fellow students have a voice in their school programming. “She is a great example of what a service leader is and a great representative of our school,” said her school guidance counselor.
*Sheridan -- Caleb Duke, a Sheridan High School senior, is a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and is a math tutor and volunteer at International Disaster and Emergency Services, Bread of Life food pantry and Meet Me Under the Bridge Homeless Outreach. He is a member of Venture Christian Church welcome team and through a mission trip with His Eyes and Crossroads Ministries, he traveled to Honduras, where he helped with construction, distributed food and water and facilitated a vacation bible school and played soccer with the locals. His youth group made fleece blanks for the homeless. He currently works for Mustard Seed Gardens. “He enjoys taking advantage of experiences where he can improve the lives of others and help them feel included and cared for,” his school guidance counselor said.
*Westfield -- Margaret Roush, a Westfield High School senior, is a member of the (Lions-sponsored) Leo Club, Merge (youth group at Grace Church), National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Young Life and Westfield tennis team, for which she earned the most-improved player award in 2017, playing tennis all four years of high school. She has also been involved in Westfield Mentoring program and Westfield Dance Marathon, for which she has helped organize marathons to raise thousands of dollars for Riley Hospital for Children. She enjoys mentoring freshmen students and participating in the Hugs 2 Honduras project that helps other countries benefit from the sale of bracelets. She earned graduation cords for maintaining a high grade-point average and completing community service hours. She has earned a great amount of respect from her peers and teachers as she has proven to be responsible, organized, hard working an an outstanding leader, her school guidance counselor said.
Each of the recipients will also receive a yet-to-be-determined scholarship amount from the Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.