HCCF has the privilege of administering the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship (LECSP) in Hancock County. Each year, HCCF applies for the opportunity to recommend two graduating students to Lilly Endowment for the full four-year tuition scholarship award. Should they accept the application, HCCF implements and supervises the process for selection.
Eligible applicants must be ranked in the academic top 15% of their graduating class 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. Student applications are submitted online and reviewed blindly (without name or contact information) by third-party professional readers represented by experienced out-of-county, community foundation personnel. The third party 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 were interviewed in October 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.
To be eligible to apply for the LECSP in Hancock County, students must be Hancock County residents, attend one of the four Hancock County public high schools, be ranked in the academic top 15% of their graduating class, 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.
Hancock County Community Foundation Congratulations the 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Recipients
Mt. Vernon High School
The common thread throughout Tessa Freeman’s service projects, extra-curricular activities and future plans is mental health. She readily shares that she has dealt with the mental health issue of anxiety from a young age, and has benefited greatly from treatment which may not be available to everyone in Hancock County with mental health issues.
If Freeman had the time, talent and treasures to enact a positive change in Hancock County, she would, “open a free mental health clinic that could provide help for all ages, genders and levels of illness.” She would also develop a team to travel to all schools in the county and discuss at convocations what mental health really is. At the high school level, she envisions the team holding classes to teach students how to help themselves and others who are struggling, and to recognize the signs of someone in crisis.
“I want other kids to understand that mental illness is just as normal and treatable as physical illness,” Freeman states. “I want everyone, young or old, to know that mental illness does not define them, and it doesn’t make them a freak.”
Freeman is already pursuing this goal, as evidenced by her current activities that include the following: 1) She has started a chapter of Champions Together at MVHS which provides a way for students with disabilities to participate in sports. 2) She also spearheaded an effort to start Mental Health Week at Mt. Vernon High School through working with Student Government. 3) By volunteering at the Hancock Health emergency room three hours per week, Freeman has learned that “helping people is easier when you put yourself in the position of those you are helping.”
As a member of the Hancock County Community Foundation Y-GIVE Youth Philanthropy Board for the past two years, Freeman has had the opportunity to join with other high school students throughout the county and provide services for local nonprofits and educational opportunities for students in Hancock County.
Leadership skills are being developed through sports and student government. As a counselor at MVHS girls basketball camp for four years, Freeman has helped struggling campers learn difficult skills and strived to set a good example. She is also a varsity basketball team captain and has been honored as Basketball Academic All-County, as well as Academic All County and Academic All-State for cross country. As a member of Student Government, she has served as vice-president three years and president one year.
Freeman intends to pursue a career in the mental health field, either by becoming a clinical psychologist for teens, helping to run a mental health clinic, or becoming a neuroscientist to research mental illness. Her colleges of choice are The University of Notre Dame or Indiana University, Bloomington.
Eastern Hancock High School
When Ellie Griesmeyer sees something that is needed, whether it is mentorships for juniors and seniors in high school or swimming instruction for those with disabilities, she jumps right in. She has volunteered for FUSE (Families United for Support and Encouragement), Feast of Plenty, Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, Hancock County Humane Society, Hancock Senior Services, Agape East, and Teens Read the Way at the Hancock County Public Library.
As a student in the Royal Leadership Academy class at Eastern Hancock High School, Griesmeyer created a mentoring program where students can shadow professionals in an environment such as a hospital, veterinarian’s office or other work places to prepare themselves for the future and gain experience in that field. In order to have the program approved, she had to present it to the principal and guidance director, as well as the school board.
“I decided to bring this program to my school because I wanted students my age to be able to find what their passion is without blindly committing to it in college,” Griesmeyer explains.
Working with individuals who have disabilities is a passion that stems from having a step-sister with special needs. Griesmeyer has worked with the FUSE Adaptive Swim program since 2016, helping to get her participants comfortable with the water, know how to be safe in the water, have fun and, in some cases, learn to swim.
If Griesmeyer had unlimited time, talent and treasure, she would, “implement a better system for individuals with special needs who are transitioning from high school to adult life.” She believes this would, “create a greater quality of life for individuals with disabilities, it will teach skills that will benefit them throughout a lifetime, and it will fill the need for (employees) in the growing workforce.”
In addition to her many service projects, Griesmeyer has also participated in the Eastern Hancock Aquatic Club and Swim Team, 4-H, HOSA-Future Health Professionals, Butler Way Leadership Camp, Peer Pals, the school newspaper and yearbook. She currently works as a Jungle Club Associate at the Hancock Wellness Center and as a concessionist at Legacy Cinema.
Griesmeyer plans to attend either Marian University or Indiana Wesleyan University to pursue a career in nursing, hoping to specialize in pediatric oncology nursing. She says, “It is this combined passion for helping others and working with kids that has let me to believe pediatric nursing would be an ideal path for me.”