HCCF has been granted the privilege of administering the 2022 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship (LECSP) in Hancock County. HCCF again has the opportunity to recommend two students graduating from high school to Lilly Endowment for the full four-year tuition scholarship award. HCCF implements and supervises the process for selection.
The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.
Applications are by invitation only and go live on July 21, 2021, and close at 4:00 p.m. on September 22, 2021. To qualify for an invitation to apply, applicants must:
Be graduating by June 30, 2022, from one of the four Hancock County High Schools
Live in Hancock County
Be in the top 15% of their cohort (weighted GPA), after removing students who live outside of Hancock County.
Students with these qualifications will be identified by school guidance departments and will receive an invitation to apply from HCCF.
Applicants must plan to pursue a baccalaureate course of study, to be completed in four years, at any accredited Indiana public or private college or university. Student applications are submitted online and reviewed blindly (without name or contact information) by third-party professional readers represented by experienced out-of-county reviewers. The third-party committee selects eight finalists, two students from each Hancock County public high school, who best meet the scholarship criteria. Community service is the primary criterion for qualification. Financial need is not a consideration for the LECSP.
The eight finalists will be interviewed in November by a volunteer committee identified by HCCF, all of whom adhere to a strict conflict of interest policy. This committee has the difficult task of selecting two students from the talented pool of eight finalists and submitting their recommendation to Lilly Endowment for approval. Pending approval, the awards will be announced in December. The eight finalists will be honored at their respective school corporation’s board meetings in November.
2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Recipients
HANCOCK COUNTY — Two Hancock County high school students got the thrill of a lifetime last week when they were announced as the county’s two 2021 Lilly Scholars, receiving four-year scholarships covering their college tuition.
Lainie Lawrence, a senior at Eastern Hancock High School; and Kendall Mann, a senior at New Palestine High School, were this year’s local recipients.
On Saturday, representatives from the Hancock County Community Foundation, which administers the scholarship in Hancock County, stopped by each of their homes for a socially distanced outdoor celebration.
Both girls were notified of winning the scholarship on the afternoon of Dec. 8, as they each waited anxiously for the call.
Lainie was hanging out in her room alone, too nervous to let her parents, Jonathon and Bobbie Lawrence, wait with her.
When the call came in, she couldn’t contain her excitement from behind her bedroom door.
“This literally is a dream come true for me,” Lainie said.
“I have worked toward this scholarship since I first heard about it when I was in sixth grade. I told all my middle school friends I wanted to win this scholarship,” she said.
It doesn’t surprise her family or teachers that she’d have the tenacity to do it.
“I’ve talked to a couple of her teachers, and they say she’s a perfect example that hard work pays off,” said her high school principal, Adam Barton, who helped present the scholarship at her home on Saturday, Dec. 12.
“Lainie is kind, thoughtful, polite…just the type of kid we want representing our school. We’re all proud and excited for her to receive this scholarship,” he said.
Kendall didn’t learn about the scholarship until she was a junior, when she realized her active volunteering and academic standing made her eligible.
She was at swim practice on Dec. 8 as she awaited the call that would let her know if she won.
Her anxiousness made it hard to focus, so she asked her coaches if she could wait in the locker room. She was there alone, clutching her cell phone with anticipation, when the phone rang with the great news.
“It was overwhelming. I was super excited,” she said.
She returned to practice with happy tears in her eyes, and the team celebrated with her.
Volunteering has always come naturally to her, Kendall said.
“Growing up, I had always taken part in volunteering. I never really thought about what that would do for me in the future,” she said.
Lainie said attending a tight-knit school like Eastern Hancock helped foster her natural desire for community service.
One of her most influential teachers was Deb Grass, who was her teacher in a leadership class when Lainie was a junior.
When Grass encouraged the class to make a difference at their school, Lainie helped initiate Puppy Day, where therapy dogs were brought in to ease students’ anxieties about their workload.
“She challenged us to find something we could change and to change it, so we did,” Lainie said.
“I knew the anxiety and stress that comes with high school and advanced classes, and I knew a lot of my friends didn’t have a healthy way to relieve that stress and anxiety,” she added.
Grass was impressed by the way Lainie reached out to a couple of therapy dog owners, who brought in therapy puppies and even some young therapy llamas to visit with students.
The program continued once a month for three months until COVID hit in March.
“Lainie’s a go-getter, that’s for sure. She sets her mind to something and boom, it’s done,” said Grass, who knows her former student will find success wherever she goes.
“I’m confident that wherever she lands, whether it’s here in Hancock County or somewhere else, that she’ll do great things for her community,” she said.
Both Lainie and Kendall expressed their thanks to the Lilly Endowment and Hancock County Community Foundation for transforming their love of community service into a generous scholarship opportunity. The prestigious Lilly Scholars program awards about 140 full-tuition scholarships in the state each year.
Lainie said she was a little hesitant to apply to colleges that were more expensive, but she knew she wanted to attend a smaller school like Butler University or Rose Hulman Institute of Technology.
Now that she’s a Lilly Scholar, some colleges are willing to work with her more. Lainie called Rose Hulman to let them know she was a Lilly Scholar, and the university offered her free room and board.
She hopes to study either pharmacy or chemical engineering, “something where I can help others,” she said.
Kendall plans to study education, although she’s still undecided which college to attend. Her dream is to be a teacher and high school cross country coach. She has run cross country and track the past two years, and hopes to do so in college.
Kendall’s interim high school principal, Jim Voelz, was there at her outdoor celebration on Saturday to sing her praises.
“I’ve known Kendall since she was in seventh grade, and ever since I’ve known her she’s always been involved in service projects of different sorts. She’s always done things to help the community or the world at large,” he said.
He’s seen her serve as class president in eighth grade, and now student body president at New Palestine High School, and excel at both academics and athletics.
“I always think of her as such a giving and selfless person. As soon as I saw her name on the list of scholarship finalists, I knew she’d be tough to beat,” he said.
Kendall’s science teacher, Darlene Seifert, had similar things to say about her student.
“I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Kendall for three of her four years in high school, and I don’t think I can remember a time that Kendall wasn’t smiling,” she said.
“Working with her in class, I saw her concern for others. She was always quick to help others on our class tasks. She was a behind-the-scenes student — never seeking the limelight but always helping others find theirs. I am sure those around her have benefited from her patience and positivity. The future is bright for her,” said Seifert.
Kendall has nothing but high praise for her teachers, coaches and the Hancock County Community Foundation, which facilitated the local Lilly Scholarships.
“Without the support of the community and my family, my coaches and the people around me, this would definitely not have been possible,” she said.
Her parents were thrilled to hear their daughter had won the scholarship.
“I think we could describe it as being speechless,” said her mom, Janet Mann. “This is an incredible community with lots of really great kids, and we are just honored for her to be among the kids that were finalists,” she said.
When Kendall called her to let them know she’d won, they couldn’t make out the good news through her tears.
“We couldn’t understand what she was saying, so I assumed it didn’t go as she had hoped,” her mom recalled with a laugh. “We were all crying by the end of the phone call.”
The Lilly Endowment awards 143 scholarships annually across the state. The scholarship has a big emphasis on volunteerism, as well as academics.
To be eligible, students must be ranked in the top 15% of their graduating class academically, and plan to pursue a baccalaureate course of study, to be completed in four years, at any accredited Indiana public or private college or university.
For more information, visit givehcgrowhc.org/scholarships/lilly-endowment-scholarship.
Here are the eight finalists who were vying for the Lilly Scholarships in Hancock County.
Kaitlyn Arkenau, Mt. Vernon High School
Kayden Bensheimer, Mt. Vernon High School
Gage Guenin, Greenfield-Central High School
Lainie Lawrence, Eastern Hancock High School
Kendall Mann, New Palestine High School
Natalee Russell, New Palestine High School
Kambell Trapp, Greenfield-Central High School
Isabella Witte, Eastern Hancock High School
Hancock County Community Foundation Congratulates the 2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Finalists