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Dec. 2, 2016

 

IPS recognizes Chandra Barbee, a 1979 graduate of Arlington
High School, for her full commitment to keeping the IPS legacy alive.

 

Known as a leader in her community, Barbee is also well
respected for her endless love and support toward today’s youth — especially
those connected to Arlington.Alumni Barbee

 

As Vice President of Arlington High School’s Alumni
Association, Barbee builds relationships with youth in order to create more positive
outcomes in education and in the community. Her priority is to help the younger
generation overcome hardships to achieve their goals.

 

Early life
in Indianapolis …

I grew up in a large family; I was the fourth child out of seven and
also the oldest daughter. Being the oldest girl, I developed a lot of domestic
skills such as cooking and knitting, which I enjoyed as a child and into
adulthood. 

 

In my neighborhood I was known for many different things, including
cooking, babysitting and styling hair. I learned how to cook and bake at an
early age. My aunt taught me how to bake my first cake when I was in the first
grade. I was blessed to be trained and to cook alongside my mother since I was
10 years old. … In addition, I was known as the neighborhood babysitter. I
always handled children well and people trusted me. I learned how to style hair
while babysitting. Through all my talents, I helped others because I wanted to
see people do well and be the best they could be. 

 

As a child, I enjoyed speaking and listening to elderly people. I loved
to listen to their stories and the history they shared. I was always inspired.
I am still connected to some of them I used to talk with as a child. To this
very day, I still check on them.

 

Your
experience at Arlington …

I had three older brothers already at Arlington who helped pave the way
for me as I entered high school. I was shy as a teenager — bubbly personality,
but shy at the same time. I was involved in the Pep Club, where we would cheer
on different sport teams from the stands. Because I was good in sewing class, I
was asked to make the uniforms for the wrestling cheerleaders. I was also a
teacher’s aide while in high school.

 

Fondest
IPS memory as a student…

High school was very fun for me. At Arlington, everyone got along. We
were one big happy family. I remember having wonderful teachers who dressed
well; I wanted to be like them. Ms. Alexander, the math teacher, kept me
inspired. She treated me special and gave me a serious talk when I needed it.
She took me under her wings. I also remember Ms. Smith, dean of girls, told me
when I was young that I was a prize winner and that the man I chose to marry should
earn me as a prize. Her words never left as I tell young girls I encounter today
the same message — that they, too, are prize winners. 

 

My IPS
education prepared me for …

My IPS education prepared me for good social and life skills. I became a
great organizer and planner, and I know how to interact well with others.

 

Your life
since graduating …

Since graduating, I’ve worked at a phone company and two furniture
stores. Due to health complications (fibromyalgia) and other disabilities, I
had to be released from work and went through rehabilitation to gain my
strength again. During rehab, people counted me out, thinking I would not be
able to gain back some of my mobility; however, I remained positive. I never
let my disability stop me from moving forward. Today, I use my condition to try
and express to the youth that they, too, can overcome hardships.

 

Despite adversity concerning my health, I insisted on staying involved
in my community. I have been heavily reconnected with Arlington and currently volunteer
serving as the vice president of Arlington’s Alumni Association. I enjoy
helping our young students by actively participating in after-school functions
and also assisting with the Arlington Snack Pantry. I consider myself the
disciplinarian in helping to get students to class and motivated to perform
well academically. The students give me a smile and say, “Hello Ms. Barbee or
Grandma.” The feeling is priceless.

 

Proudest
accomplishments …

I am proud that I never gave into peer pressure because I always had my
own voice. So many people can get caught up with the ways of the world through
peer pressure. I am happy that even at a young age, I always stood my ground. I
try to pass the same attitude on to my grandchildren and the children I mentor
today.

 

In addition, I always kept God in my life and I continue to try to do
right by others while helping others to do right.

 

Above all, I am proud of my family. Though there are a lot of us, we all
are well connected and still do a lot of things together. After high school,
being a mom was most important to me. I have one son, three grandchildren and a
host of nieces and nephews that I am very proud of and enjoy spending time
together.

 

Life as an
active Arlington alumna

As an active alumna, I attest that we Arlington alum strive to keep
Arlington’s legacy alive. We are visible at Arlington as we have our own alumni
location in the school building. We sit in classes and pass out snacks in order
to stay connected to current students. We appear at school events and we have
shirts that show we represent Arlington’s Alumni Association. I believe that
building relationships with students and showing that we care is important. Most
of the students know who we are, which is important to us. They let us know we
are accomplishing our mission, which is to stay well connected to Arlington and
support current students to hold the legacy.

 

Moreover, as vice president of the alumni association, I assist current
president Mr. Tim Bass. I help in motivating our alumni and Facebook following
in order to keep connected and get other alum involved in what is going on at
Arlington. I also work on ways to better assist current needs at the school.

 

Overall, being an active alumna has taught me patience working with
students and not to give up on them. The students need a mentor and to know that
someone believes in their success. To the students I am Grandma. I am hard on
them when it comes to respecting their teachers and taking responsibility for keeping
good academics, because education is important. It’s key to survival. For this
reason alone, I choose to stay a strong, active alumna and encourage others to
be involved.

 

Interests/Hobbies

I have many interests and hobbies, such as baking and creating crafts. However,
I find that being active in the community is something I really enjoy. I want
to pass my skills onto the younger generation. I am still a motivator and enjoy
helping others.

 

Vision/Dreams

I want to continue to find a way to help students in order to assure
they will graduate and to continue to find ways to build a strong alumni group
at Arlington.

 

Final
Quote …

“Be careful what you do because
you cannot take anything back.