Celebrating Charter Schools Week with the Stories of Herron Classical Schools Alumni
Herron Classical Schools is a network of charter schools in Indianapolis, including their flagship Herron High School, which regularly rates as one of the best high schools in Indiana.
To celebrate National Charter Schools Week, we sat down with two Herron High School alumni to talk about how their high school experience set them up for success in college, the workforce, and beyond.
Molly Earnest, 2012 Graduate and Learning & Development Specialist at Gregory & Appel
Molly Earnest is a 2012 Herron High School graduate. She attended the Herron School of Art and Design in downtown Indy and majored in art education. After graduating from college, she served as a high school art teacher in the Herron Classical Schools network for a number of years before becoming the Learning & Development Specialist at Gregory & Appel.
Q: What skills did you develop at Herron that helped after high school?
A: My parents instilled, and Herron nurtured, the skill of approaching all things with joy. Work is hard. But I had a lot of fun as a student and an educator at Herron. Looking back, that made all the difference.
Q: What brought you back to Herron Classical Schools as an educator after college?
A: In college, I majored in art education. It’s funny, because if you had asked my high school self, I would’ve said no way. But all the teachers around me in high school would have said, “Yes, of course, that makes total sense.” So by the time I made it through student teaching and was ready to apply for jobs, I told my parents, I’m going to work for Herron High School or I might not even be a teacher. I felt that way because the culture at Herron was so special to me. I knew that I wanted to create experiences for future students that my teachers created for me.
Q: What led you to your current role at Gregory & Appel?
A: I taught at Herron Classical Schools for five years and two of those years were the pandemic years. Teaching virtually through COVID was very difficult as well as rewarding. I gained a whole new set of skills I would otherwise not have had. I enjoyed the process of creating virtual content and fostering a learning environment online. That led me to adult development, knowing I could use that skill set on a larger scale as we exited teaching remotely.
Anyone who works with me knows I’m a huge Bob Ross fan. His quote “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything you are willing to practice, you can do” really carried me through the leap from my high school fine arts teaching background to Gregory & Appel as the Learning & Development Specialist.
It also showed up when I applied to grad school. I’m currently pursuing my MBA and I tell myself over and over again if I’m willing to practice it, I can do it. That is my own interpretation of one of Herron Classical Schools’ founding principles, which is “Every student is a scholar.”
Q: What do you appreciate the most about Herron?
A: What I appreciate most about Herron is their ability to truly see an individual. The best parts of me came out here. They help you grow and do it without trying to change you.
Devon Nave, 2012 Graduate and Realtor at Mark Dietel Realty
Devon Nave is a 2012 graduate of Herron High School. He has changed careers multiple times since college, but recently went all in on his passion for real estate after purchasing and flipping his own home. He works as a realtor at Mark Dietel Realty in Indianapolis.
Q: Where does your passion for real estate come from?
A: My passion for real estate comes from my parents. Growing up they owned over 100 rental properties. My interest started young and developed through learning the business from them.
Q: What skills did you gain in high school that you use as a realtor?
A: Herron taught me patience. The journey from freshman year to senior year was long and involved a lot of changes in a short period of time. But Herron’s faculty showed me I could do anything by taking things one step at a time.
Herron was also a chance to use my talkative nature to build relationships with everybody. The school set me up to build relationships for a living as a realtor. Attending Herron was an absolutely amazing experience.
Q: How did Herron push you to achieve what you wanted for your future?
A: They held us accountable. Herron is still pushing me to achieve what I want out of life. They set the standard high and that set me up to remember those experiences and push myself to be better every day.
Q: Looking back, what do you appreciate most about Herron?
A: What I appreciate most about Herron is its uniqueness and individuality. No other school that I shadowed before choosing Herron felt like somewhere that I would fit it.
Just in the last year, I’ve been able to give back by volunteering at Herron and that’s opened my eyes to how big of an impact this school has on its students. Herron offers so much support. There are so many people who have come through Herron who might not have made it but they came to Herron and it really changed their lives.