ANDERSON — The 2019 Red Haven Memorial Award for the combined excellence in athletics, academics and community involvement was presented to Megan Green of Pendleton Heights by the Anderson Noon Exchange Club on Tuesday afternoon.
It is the second time in three years a PHHS student was awarded — Allison McCarty won in 2017 — and the 10th time overall in the 51 years of the award.
"I was so surprised because I'm surrounded by so many great people that have done so many great things," Green said. "I'm just humbled to be around this group, so to win was an honor for sure."
Green was selected from a group of eight nominees composed of Avery Paddock (Alexandria), Sharon Kulali (Anderson), Michael Taylor (Anderson Prep), Madison Tincher (Elwood), William Whatley (Frankton), Kara Lutz (Lapel) and Negesse Kishpaugh (Liberty Christian).
"That makes me excited for the future," Green said of the nominees. "To see so many other people doing so many great things, it makes me excited for them and to see how their futures are planned out."
Along with the award, Green will also receive scholarship money to further her education next year. This is also the first time the program will award scholarships to all eight candidates.
Green earned a total of six varsity letters during her time as an Arabian, four in soccer and two in Unified Track. She will graduate Summa Cum Laude with Academic Honors, third in her class of 335 with a grade point average of 13.8333 on the 12-point scale. That translates to about 4.75 on the 4.0 scale. Green was also her class president for all four years, named to the National Honor Society, is secretary of the Student Council, member of both the math and science academic teams, BETA Club, prom committee and is a 10-year member of Madison County 4-H.
She said her ability to balance athletics — where she starred as center back for the soccer team — academics and involvement is a testament to her school, family, community and her faith.
"Reminding myself not to stress and faith is really important to me, so on those hard days knowing that, not only do I have a great community around me, but knowing that I've got God carrying me was what really got me through," Green said.
Among her many school and church activities was a 2018 mission trip to Zimbabwe, which Green said included a life-changing event.
"I thought I was going there to serve people, but I learned more than I ever thought I would from them," she said. "Serving God is really important to me, and I went there thinking I was serving him. I grew so much of my faith because I saw people who had so little feel so fulfilled. I actually got baptized there, which was so amazing."
Through the Unified Track and the Best Buddies program that she is involved with, Green works with special-needs children at the school, something she said has been among the most rewarding experiences of her high-school life.
"Working with special-needs kids, because they are so sweet and so kind, it just fills my heart," she said. "To have an extended friend group is amazing because they do become your best friends."
Green received a Lilly Endowment Scholarship, something else she has in common with McCarty, and will attend Notre Dame in the fall, where she will study to become a dermatologist. Her chosen profession has personal meaning to her.
"That was a huge honor, and it allowed me to go to the school of my dreams," Green said. "I've always been interested in skin care, but my grandfather on my dad's side had a lot of skin-care issues. I can relate to it. I saw what he went through. I also had really bad acne when I was younger, so that's something I want to be able to treat other kids. When my dermatologist helped me, I know how much better I felt."
Megan is the daughter of Bill — a Red Haven finalist in 1986 — and Kelli Green of Pendleton.