updated: 11/10/2009 1:02:50 PM

Christel House to Break Ground on New Charter School

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

A new Indianapolis charter high school will be named after the former Eli Lilly and Co. executive and the late Gus Watanabe. A groundbreaking will be held this afternoon for the Christel House-Watanabe High School at the Christel House Academy on the city's south side. The $4 million school will be financed through a campaign co-chaired by Christel DeHaan and former Lilly Chief Executive Officer Randall Tobias. DeHann has already pledged $2 million toward the goal to allow construction to begin immediately.


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Watanabe, was the former chairman of BioCrossroads and held a distinguished career at Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY).

Press Release

Indianapolis, November 10, 2009—Christel House International is announcing the construction of a unique, new Indianapolis charter high school at a groundbreaking ceremony to be held this afternoon at its Christel House Academy site on the city’s south side. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard are scheduled to participate in the announcement.

The new school will be named Christel House-Watanabe High School in honor of the late August M. (Gus) Watanabe, M.D., a former Eli Lilly and Company executive and Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Watanabe also served as a director of Christel House International.

“Given the unacceptably low percentage of inner-city students who graduate from high school, there is clearly a great need in Indianapolis for a high quality school that offers those students the opportunity to excel academically and to become productive, responsible citizens,” said Christel DeHaan, founder and president of Christel House International. “The successes and accomplishments we have seen our kindergarten through eighth grade students achieve at Christel House Academy will soon be possible for students in grades nine through twelve.

“We are proud to name this new high school in honor of Dr. Watanabe, who valued education highly and worked tirelessly as a Christel House International director to help children around the world escape poverty and realize their hopes and dreams,” DeHaan continued. “This same vision will soon become a reality on the south side of Indianapolis with the creation of this new center of learning.”

Christel House-Watanabe High School will be co-located with Christel House Academy at 2717 South East Street and will have the capacity to enroll 240 students in grades nine through twelve. Plans call for the school to begin operations at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.

“We plan to offer enrollment to not only those students graduating from Christel House Academy’s eighth grade class but to students graduating from other area middle schools as well,” said Carey Dahncke, principal of Christel House Academy. “An application process will be in place through which middle school graduates from other charter schools or public schools may apply for enrollment. We anticipate enrolling 10 to 20 such students in our ninth-grade program.”

The $4 million school will be financed through a capital campaign co-chaired by Christel DeHaan and Ambassador Randall Tobias, chairman emeritus of Eli Lilly and Company. DeHaan has already pledged $2 million toward the goal to allow construction to begin immediately.

Individuals or organizations wishing to make contributions to the campaign may do so by visiting www.christelhouse.org or by contacting Kenneth L. Sheetz, Christel House Chief Development Officer, at 317-464-2086.

In addition to the Indianapolis-based Christel House Academy, Christel House International operates schools and learning centers in India, Mexico, South Africa and Venezuela. Christel House provides education, healthcare, nutrition, life skills and character development to over 3,000 children.

Source: Christel House


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