Spirit of a Bulldog Award
At the May 2021 board meeting, the CPCSC board and administrative team announced the creation of a new employee award - the Mike Carnahan Spirit of a Bulldog Award.
This award will recognize the significant contributions of a Crown Point Community School Corporation employee. It will not be available every year. Instead, it is meant to honor an individual who has exceeded the expectations of their position and created a long-lasting impact through mentorship, dedication, and support for students. Recipients would be chosen during the Teacher/Employee of the Year process if it is clear that a candidate’s work has been truly exceptional over a period of time. In other words, when an Employee or Teacher of the Year Award simply wouldn’t be enough to recognize the candidate’s achievements.
The Mike Carnahan Spirit of a Bulldog Award is named after Mike Carnahan, head custodian at MacArthur Elementary who retired in 2021 after 47 years of service at CPCSC. More than 25 years before, Mike started a program at MacArthur called Carnahan’s Helpers where elementary students lent him a hand with recycling, raising the flag each morning, stocking supplies for teachers, and setting up for assemblies or other events.
The idea began after students started asking Mike if they could help him. Teachers also identified students who needed a break and would send them to help Mr. Carnahan before returning to class. Eventually all this help was formalized into a group called “Custodial Helpers” but MacArthur principal Marian Buchko suggested the name change after it was clear that Mike’s mentorship was what made the difference. They even made t-shirts.
Approximately 12-15 fifth grade students “applied” each year to be a Carnahan’s Helper. The program covered life skills and encouraged them to be service-minded and to learn about the value in helping others. The program sought to build self-respect, humility, independence, and responsibility while allowing participants to be a role model to younger students.
More than 400 students were Carnahan’s Helpers during Mike’s tenure. It is not uncommon for him to run into a former helper at the store, or even to have had their children as helpers in his later years. Mike says that beyond helping students, the program changed his life as well. “It grew into something so much bigger than I could have imagined,” he noted. “I was a student at MacArthur, and I take great pride in our building. I have been so fortunate, and contributing to the lives of our students brings me hope for the future.”
Mike Carnahan is presented with the first Mike Carnahan Spirit of Bulldog Award at the May 24, 2021 board meeting.
Mike Carnahan - 2021