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Students vie for full-ride scholarships with annual stipends


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The average student loan debt in Indiana has reached $27,886, but 10 high school seniors in Bartholomew County have an opportunity to avoid that burden.

The Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County has named finalists for the 2014 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships for Bartholomew County. Two students will be awarded full tuition for four years to the Indiana college of their choice, plus a $900 annual stipend for required books and equipment. The remaining finalists each will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Heritage Fund.

The program, sponsored by Lilly Endowment, managed by the Independent Colleges of Indiana and administered locally by the Heritage Fund, is in its 17th year of awarding scholarships to Indiana students.

This year’s finalists are:

Columbus East High School: Whitney Michael, Seth Frownfelter, Grant Huffman, Madel Presto and Cassidy Smith.

Columbus North High School: Rachel Ollestad, Larissa Jo Luther, Megan Heathcote and Ethan Miller.

Hauser High School: Sarah Craig.

They were chosen from 74 applicants and evaluated on academic performance, scholastic activities, community involvement, employment, leadership, responses to short-answer questions, an essay and two letters of recommendation.

A committee organized by the Independent Colleges of Indiana, composed of statewide representatives from public and private colleges, community foundations and scholarship alumni, will consider the recommendations. The two recipients will be announced early next month.

“We were pleased to see outreach efforts with the high schools continue to help us reach students and inform them of local scholarship prospects,” said Amy Laker, scholarship manager for the Heritage Fund. “We saw about a 23 percent increase in the number of Lilly applications from last year, which was very encouraging.”

Many of the finalists said they applied to help ease the burden of tuition on themselves and their families.

“I have two older brothers who have attended college, and my parents were so supportive of them throughout their four years,” finalist Ollestad said.

“I know they would help me in any way they could as well, but I wanted to make the most of the financial opportunity the Lilly Scholarship offers.”

Ollestad hopes to attend Ball State University, where a year of tuition costs about $9,500, making the worth of the scholarship more than $40,000.

Meet the finalists for the 2014 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships for Bartholomew County

Sarah Craig

Hauser High School

Community involvement: Student Council; Students Against Destructive Decisions; peer tutoring; organized a young ladies retreat and a series called The Big Story about the Gospel; establishing a community garden in Hope.

Scholastic activities: National Honor Society; top 10 percent of class.

Leadership: Student Council secretary and vice president; Class Officer president and cabinet member; Students Against Destructive Decisions president and vice president; Fellowship of Christian Athletes president, prayer group leader; Indianapolis Youth Chorale Alto 1 section leader.

Employment: Detasseler; child care provider; Nashville Christmas caroler.

Future plans: Attend Grace College to major in intercultural studies and minor in communications to become a missionary.

Seth Frownfelter

Columbus East High School

Community involvement: Big Brothers Big Sisters; United Way Turning Point Dance Marathon Committee; Vacation Bible School youth leader; peer mentor; LEAP (mentor to middle school students).

Scholastic activities: Honor roll for four years of high school; National Honor Society; Spanish National Honor Society; Indiana High School Association Academic All-State in football; Advanced Placement scholar award; academic letter.

Leadership: Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award for Class 4A Football; Bartholomew County Youth Leadership; IHSAA Leadership Convention; varsity football captain; varsity swimming captain.

Employment: Donner Aquatic Center lifeguard; Foundation for Youth lifeguard.

Future goals: Attend Butler University or Indiana University for business or law.

Megan Heathcote

Columbus North High School

Community involvement: Big Brothers Big Sisters; First United Methodist Church.

Scholastic activities: Top 10 academically; National Honor Society; Quill and Scroll.

Leadership: Log Yearbook executive editor; National Honor Society president; gymnastics captain; Student Assembly class treasurer.

Employment: First United Methodist Church child care provider.

Future goals: Study finance at a university still to be selected.

Grant Huffman

Columbus East High School

Community involvement: Bible study; Bible school; Dance Marathon Committee; mission trip; snow removal at church, turkey supper at church; miscellaneous building maintenance at church.

Scholastic activities: Swimming; golf; show choir; volleyball; National Honor Society; Spanish National Honor Society; honor roll for four years; Academic Challenge at Parkside and Northside.

Leadership: Led the swimming team in offseason and morning practice conditioning and lead lane in the pool; prepare and organize games for children in Grades 4-6 at Bible School; teach 10-15 children swimming lessons at Donner Aquatic Center; Entertainment Committee for Turning Point Dance Marathon.

Employment: Donner Center lifeguard and lesson instructor.

Future Goals: Attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for mechanical engineering.

Larissa Jo Luther

Columbus North High School

Community involvement: Best Buddies; Life Hurts God Heals at Columbus Christian Church; The Ridge; Litter Box Kitty Rescue.

Scholastic activities: Best Buddies; Dubuteens and Music Men show choir.

Leadership: Previous chapter president and current vice president of Best Buddies.

Employment: Work at Help at Home during the summer.

Future Goals: Attend Ball State University for a master’s in speech pathology.

Whitney Michael

Columbus East High School

Community involvement: Columbus Food Co-op; Empty Bowls; Reverse Raffle; Ethnic Expo; Oglesville Christian Church (nursery, choir, vacation Bible school).

Scholastic activities: National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s ProStart program, which took her to nationals in Baltimore twice; National Forensic League; SkillsUSA culinary competition; National Honor Society; Spanish National Honors Society; Indiana University Honors Program in Foreign Language; track and volleyball; honor roll for four years of high school.

Leadership: Represented the National Spanish Honor Society at Ethnic Expo; led younger students in culinary class; senior on Speech Team.

Employment: Joe Willy’s since August; Spanish tutor since November 2013; event catering since September 2011.

Future goals: Attend Purdue University or Johnson & Wales University to study international hotel and tourism management.

Ethan Miller

Columbus North High School

Community involvement: Parks and Recreation soccer referee; Columbus Robotics Team; The Ridge; play classical guitar.

Scholastic activities: National Honor Society; Thespian troupe; Game Alliance.

Leadership: President and vice president of North’s Robotic Club; helped found Game Alliance and current vice president.

Employment: Referee for Parks and Recreation.

Future goals: Attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to study biomedical engineering, complete masters and doctorate in biomedical engineering.

Rachel Ollestad

Columbus North High School

Community involvement: Participant in the Hope Relay for Life; March of Dimes; Lincoln Family Center Easter egg hunt; Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF; Columbus North High School blood drive donor; piano and flute recitals at Four Seasons Retirement Center; Volunteer for Feed My Starving Children at Asbury United Methodist Church.

Scholastic activities: National Honor Society; marching band; jazz band for bass guitar; concert band.

Leadership: Student leader in the Sound of North marching band; youth leader for Newbern United Methodist Church vacation Bible school; teaching assistant at Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. summer band.

Employment: Private music lessons.

Future goals: Attend Ball State University to double major in music and English education and minor in Spanish.

Madel Presto

Columbus East High School

Community involvement: Volunteer opportunities through Key Club; Stained Glass Choir at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Minds on Math; Salvation Army bell ringing; Firemen’s Cheer Fund; recycling at Columbus East High School.

Scholastic activities: National Honor Society; Spanish National Honor Society.

Leadership: Marching band section leader; winter percussion section leader; symphonic band first chair, Key Club president; National Honor Society vice president; Spanish National Honor Society vice president, Acalympions director

Employment: Snappy Tomato Pizza from March-September 2013

Future goals: Become a music therapist.

Cassidy Smith

Columbus East High School

Community involvement: Firemen’s Cheer Fund Student Advisory Board; Dance Marathon; Cheer Fund Challenge; Ethnic Expo food booth; Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF; blood donor; election poll worker; church nursery volunteer; Vacation Bible School director.

Scholastic activities: National Honor Society; marching band; winter percussion, advanced concert band, 4-H Club; Econ Challenge member; peer mentor; Key Club.

Leadership: National Honor Society president; winter percussion bass drum section leader; marching band trumpet section leader; Fireman’s Cheer Fund student advisory board chairman, 4-H Club president, vacation bible school director and teacher.

Employment: Ceraland Park for three years.

Future goals: Attend Ball State University for a masters in meteorology.

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