“Opportunity. That is what Batesville High School Kiwanis Student Leadership Academy students and Key Club officers were given Feb. 3 during their annual leadership training day,” reports member Ben Kick. There were 31 KSLA members and five Key Club members from Batesville High School in attendance.
The day began with the students’ arrival at Hillenbrand Inc./Batesville Casket Co. headquarters. The first speaker, Hillenbrand Inc. CEO Joe Raver, detailed how opportunity is integral to success. His lecture covered how the young students must reach for the opportunities presented, and prepare for success in their everyday lives. Finally, he concluded how, by making opportunities for others, the students would be making opportunities for themselves.
Next, Dr. Ed Negovetich discussed having goals in order to succeed. “He detailed how goals must be within the reach of the student, but also push them out of their comfort zones, and to again reach for opportunity,” according to Kick. He also explained that hard work pays off, but it is also good to have recreation in one’s life. He challenged the students to learn from their mistakes, and to treat their team with respect.
The young leaders were then given time to work on their community projects and decide how to further their progress based on the speakers’ speeches.
Attendees were then addressed by Chris Lowery, who noted the success of Hillenbrand Inc. and the intention to incorporate students in the company’s future. Continuing with the theme of opportunity, they learned more about Hillenbrand Inc. through his presentation. Boarding company buses, the students then enjoyed a tour of the Batesville Casket Co. manufacturing plant. “Many were enthralled that an industry like this could exist in Batesville and continues to thrive after decades,” Kick said. Donning safety glasses and looks of wonder, the students toured through the various stages of producing and painting the caskets, along with how they are stored and transported.
They returned to headquarters and listened to a final speech by Kelly Poltrack, a former Navy intelligence officer, Capital One manager, and currently Batesville Community Education Foundation administrator. She spoke about the three important parts of being successful. The first was to take action and again take the opportunities presented in life. Secondly, she spoke about taking care of those around you. Finally, she stressed the importance of doing the right thing and being honest. Her speech contained anecdotes back to the Navy and Capital One that kept her message entertaining and well received.
According to Kick, “The students are extremely thankful for their sponsors, Hillenbrand, Hill-Rom, Margaret Mary Health and the Kiwanians as they provide the students with amazing opportunities to learn and expand the knowledge they possess. Hopefully, these young students will be able to give back to their sponsors and Batesville what it gave them – an opportunity.”