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Former Plainfield Middle School student wins Outstanding Achievement Award

By Mike Beas

The first days of a student’s freshman school year are about opening new doors.

In the case of Andrew Gerhart, this can be taken literally as the 14-year-old soon starts at Ritter High School in Indianapolis after previously attending Plainfield Middle School.

Gerhart recently bridged his academic and extracurricular pursuits by being one of 500 students nationally to win the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) Outstanding Achievement Award for middle school students.

He is one of only eight recipients to represent Indiana.

“Both my husband (Keith) and I were very proud of Andrew,” said Gerhart’s mother, Karen. “I thought it was a deserved honor just knowing how hard he works.

“All through middle school, he started joining several different clubs. He’s a kid who’s not afraid of a challenge, and not afraid of trying something new. I appreciate that about Andrew’s personality.”

Gerhart’s interests are as diverse as they are numerous.

Athletically, he was a member of the boys tennis and golf teams for three years each at Plainfield Middle School, played basketball, and was an Athletic Ambassador.

Away from sports, Gerhart took part in Student Council, Orchestra, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a variety of academic teams. He is a member of Hendricks County 4-H (is president of his local club), as well as Star Scout rank in Boy Scouts Troop 269.

Andrew won the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) Outstanding Achievement Award for middle school students. (Submitted photo)

Furthermore, Gerhart has been honored as a state finalist in the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) History essay contest, and is a member of St. Susanna Catholic Church.


Over 5,000 students from across the country applied for the award. Gerhart broke ground by being the first from Plainfield Middle School to earn the distinction.

“I was kind of surprised by it,” said Gerhart. “It shows people how involved I am in my school, and how many extracurricular activities I’m in.”

Not surprisingly, Gerhart, who carried a 3.74 grade-point average last school year, isn’t about to change that about himself now that his surroundings are different.

“I like to learn a lot of new things and meet new people,” said Gerhart. “Both my mom and dad were involved in a lot of things when they were in high school.”

The NJHS is the middle school version of the National Honor Society, which applies to high school students and dates back to 1921. It is sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

The online application for the Outstanding Achievement Award called for Gerhart, a member of NJHS since seventh-grade, to show how he exemplifies the five pillars of NJHS – character, community service, leadership, service and scholarship.

Winners receive an award, as well as a $500 college scholarship.

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