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Local school gets media center makeover, thanks to College Football Playoff

The school’s media center will receive books, new technology and updated furniture.

INDIANAPOLIS — When you think of all the things the College Football Playoff game brings to its host city, you probably don't think new books, and technology for local schools. However, that's true for the James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy, a middle and high school on Indianapolis' far east side

The academy is one of a handful of Indy-area schools that's received some much-needed upgrades thanks to the CFP Foundation. The organization, along with the Indianapolis Host Committee, has invested more than $3 million to make these "media center makeovers" possible for deserving schools.

The room full of brand new books, TVs and computers, new furniture and more is already receiving A+ reviews from students and staff.

"I wasn't expecting us to get something like this," said Darrance Jennings. He is a senior at the James and Rosemary Phalen Leadership Academy. He's been a student since the school first opened. "This school really came a long way, this was just a brick room with nothing in it," he said.

Three other central Indiana schools got similar makeovers earlier this year: Victory College Prep, Southport Middle School and Garden City Elementary.

Credit: the 2022 CFP Indianapolis Host Committee

Also announced Friday morning was a program for Indianapolis-area teachers and coaches to receive professional development focused on mental health preparation. It will use a sports-based approach through the Doc Wayne's Professional Development Champions Network.

Teachers from Indiana and across the country will also be celebrated during national championship weekend.

The Indiana Teachers of the Year, nominated by their peers and communities, will join 56 state teachers of the year to participate in the Teacher of the Year Championship Experience.

"Honoring teachers is one of the many ways that the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship positively impacts our community," said Mark Howell, chairman of the Indianapolis Host Committee. "We invite teachers and all of their biggest fans to join us in celebrating their hard work at the events surrounding National Championship weekend."

RELATED: Your ultimate guide to Indianapolis during College Football Playoff National Championship festivities

These Indiana teachers made the list:

  • Nick Altman, Huntington North High School, Huntington
  • Michael Brooks, Avon Community School Corporation, Avon
  • Claire Brown, Mayflower Mill Elementary School, Lafayette
  • Lisa Clegg, Northrop High School, Fort Wayne
  • Robert DeRuntz, Chesterton High School, Chesterton
  • Kristen Distler, Fall Creek Junior High, Fishers
  • Samantha Griffith, Christel House DORS West, Indianapolis
  • Ashley Hogan, Tindley Summit Academy, Indianapolis
  • Kevin Melrose, Northwest Community Middle School, Indianapolis
  • Joseph Oakes, Borden Jr/Sr High School, Borden
  • Cris Petro, Liberty Intermediate School, Chesterton
  • Jennifer Pollitt, Timothy Ball Elementary School, Crown Point
  • Mindy Summers, Central Middle School, Columbus
  • Darcy Talbot, Crestdale Elementary School, Richmond
  • Jeremy Walker, Crown Point High School, Crown Point
  • Jen Yoder, Goshen High School, Goshen
  • Deanne Wideman, McKinley Alternative School, Kokomo

RELATED: Indianapolis prepares for college football national championship amid COVID concerns

The teachers will enjoy a four-night stay in downtown Indianapolis. They will join the 56 other state teachers of the year from the Teacher of the Year program as honored guests at CFP Foundation events. Those events include the Extra Yard 5K and Taste of the Championship. 

The teachers will also be recognized on the field at the national championship game.

For more information, visit IndyFootball2022.com.

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