GREENFIELD, Ind. (October 18, 2023) – 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 roles foundations 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 as educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.
CFHC has the privilege of administering the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship (LECSP) in Hancock County. Each year, CFHC 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, CFHC implements and supervises the process for selection.
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.
Student applications are submitted online and reviewed blindly (without name or contact information) by third-party professional readers represented by experienced out-of-county evaluators. The third-party evaluators select 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 are interviewed by a volunteer committee identified by CFHC, 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.
Below are the stories of the eight finalists:
Mt. Vernon High School
Mya is the daughter of David and Mary Adams of Fortville. She plans to attend the University of Notre Dame or Butler University and major in political science, psychology, and history, with plans to pursue a career in public law.
Mya has a heart for helping other students and those who are younger than herself. Mya participates with the parent-led group at Fortville Elementary to execute school activities such as festivals, trunk or treats, dances, and babysitting for PTO meetings. Camp Invention is a day of learning how to apply the principles of S.T.E.M. to inventing new things. Three local elementary schools host the program. Mya was once a participant in the program and is now a counselor. She enjoys how it teaches positive behaviors and fosters growth and youth success. Mya helps prepare crafts weekly at the Vernon Township Public Library, participated in the “Best Buddies” tutoring program in her high school, as well as tutoring middle school students once a week throughout her junior and senior years. Mya has also helped Fortville Elementary teachers prepare their classrooms for the new school year during her summer break.
During Mya’s junior year of high school, she attended a summer leadership program for a week where students were encouraged to identify issues, they noticed within their school cooperation. Mya thought mental health struggles, substance abuse, issues at home, and bullying were issues that needed to be addressed. Mya wanted to help struggling students in a personal way. That is when she developed a website, Outreach Tree. QR codes are placed on the back of the bathroom stalls throughout the school. When scanned, it takes you to a website with five different tabs: mental health, drug abuse and addiction, adolescent abuse, bullying; and others. Under each tab is a list of resources, including support groups in the local area, therapists who specialize in the given area, blogs from people who have overcome addiction, the DSM-5 Autism Diagnosis Criteria guide, and more. This year Mya worked to implement this in her school, and her job has been to upkeep the QR codes in the bathrooms, work out all the approval kinks, and spread the word about it. While Mya is the creator of this idea, it is the guidance department’s responsibility to look at student interaction, but she oversees the upkeep as well as communication with the guidance department. This has been a special experience for Mya as her main hope was to “leave my school better than I found it.”
The organization that has been the most important and influential to Mya would be the work she has done at Ballerina’s Academy of Dance. This is a small dance studio owned by a local family. They provide dance classes and life lessons to students ranging from preschool to seniors in high school. Mya would devote time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to teach lessons to younger children. Here she developed many new relationships with students, parents, and advisors. It taught her how to communicate, lead, and organize. As a part of Mya’s duties, she would compile the music, organize the class rosters, plan lessons for each individual week, and communicate schedules, changes, and ideas to her directors. Every other Thursday, Mya would also come in and clean the entire building to relieve stress off the already busy lives of the staff there. Mya says, “I learned so many valuable lessons from this experience. I learned to be a dependable human, to give not only resources but time and dedication without expecting anything back in return. I also learned how to manage myself in hard situations, as well as how to be a good communicator in a way that would please both parents and children. I am proud to of been involved with this for the past three years.”
New Palestine High School
Jocelynn is the daughter of Jacob and Chasity Flagle of New Palestine. She plans to attend Taylor University and major in human physiology and preventative medicine. Jocelynn plans to become a physician’s assistant because she will “get to be a light for some of the most vulnerable members of society. As a physician assistant, I will get to help patients along their journey and improve the quality of life for patients. This career path will allow me to explore different specialties in the medical field.”
Jocelynn has volunteered at Hope Center Indy in two capacities the David Nolan Food Pantry of Hope, where she consistently serves every Thursday, and the Donation Room at the Hope Center where she has sorted donations since 2022. Jocelynn has been on mission trips to North Carolina and Washington, D.C., with Brookville Road Christian Church where she has worked in food pantries, poured concrete, worked in soup kitchens, and ministered to people in the streets. These trips opened her eyes to real need as she saw the effects of poverty, especially on the kids. Jocelynn has spent time in the Hancock County Food Pantry, Brookville Road Community Church leadership Outreach, and service projects at Nameless Creek Camp, Agape, and doing yard work for the elderly, to name a few.
Growing up, Jocelynn and her sisters ran a lemonade stand called “Lemon Splash” and a hot cocoa stand called “Cocoa-liscous.” Each year they chose a different organization or charity to support with proceeds. One year, proceeds provided necessities for kids in Africa through Kids Alive. The next year money was sent to Living Stones, a ministry for kids in poverty in Brazil. Another year, uniforms were supplied to children in need through a ministry they attended called Yeshua Society. Other years, money was raised for YWAM Homes of Hope and Little Star. In the year of one of their largest fundraisers, they bought blankets, backpacks, and bibles for the individuals experiencing homelessness. Jocelynn says, “This taught me the importance of generosity and service at a young age.” One year, they were invited to be on Fox 59 morning news and were features in the Indy Star for their philanthropy efforts.
Jocelynn and her family have served at Yeshua Society, which is a ministry for low-income and poverty-stricken families in the near east side of Indianapolis. They went to bible studies, attended ministry outreach services, did fundraisers, renovated, did yard work, and painted and cleaned classrooms in the community center. In 2020, her family’s life group wanted to help the need that existed in Super School 19. A donation drive was set up. They got the items together, prepared them in boxes, and delivered the boxes to Super School 19 for pickup. During the delivery, Jocelynn’s family was able to meet the families and hand-deliver the boxes, as there was a lot of financial instability because of COVID-19. “Doing this service project allowed us to support our community members in a time of true hardship,” says Jocelynn.
New Palestine High School
Cameron is the son of Jeff and Janet Mann of New Palestine. He plans to attend Purdue University and major in pre-med, engineering, or computer science. He hopes to become a cardiologist. Last year, Cameron was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and because of this, he would like to be a heart doctor in this community and help kids who face what he has over the last year.
Cameron has been a Fresh Start leader, mentoring incoming 9th graders at NPHS, making them feel more comfortable and answering any questions they have. Each year since 7th grade, Cameron has helped the former middle school running coach lead a group of elementary school runners in a weekly program. He also helped them to prepare for a final race in the last week of the month-long Dragon Flyers Running Program. Cameron is the Co-creator of an organization that will create S.T.E.M. lessons and instruct elementary kids on S.T.E.M. careers. The goal is to design fun lessons that revolve around math and science hands-on activities. He has been a planner and participant of the Riley Dance Marathon, which raises thousands of dollars for Riley Hospital for Children. He is a member and volunteer of the Unified Track Team at NPHS. Cameron says, “I was a varsity member of the cross country and track teams all during high school until I was unexpectedly diagnosed with heart disease and had to stop competing. I still help with the team, but now I can understand what it feels like to not be able to do something because of something you can’t control.” Super Pawn Chess is a chess game variant that Cameron invented/designed that uses most of the rules of chess but with several changes related to the pawn pieces. He wants to provide regular chess game sets to county nursing home patients suffering from dementia, like his grandfather, as playing chess is proven to help some with the effects of dementia. Fridays With Fermi is a math workbook researched and designed by Cameron and aimed at upper elementary and middle school students to practice their problem-solving skills without using the internet.
After Cameron’s sister collapsed in 2021 from a previously undiagnosed heart disease, he knew he wanted to do something to support her and to make NPHS as safe as possible for other kids who might face the same kind of crisis. What he didn’t know then is that because of his sister’s diagnosis, he would later be diagnosed with the same kind of cardiomyopathy – a disease that can cause sudden death in certain situations. His sister’s cardiac doctor at Riley is a lead doctor for the Indiana Chapter of Project Adam, so he gave Cameron a contact person to reach out to about how to start the certification at NPHS. Cameron started the first steps last year, but now he and a friend have partnered in a service-learning class this year to complete the certification. “I think this is a very important project, and while there are many steps to completion, I would like to eventually certify all schools in the county,” says Cameron.
Chemo Radio is the world’s first online radio station targeted toward those who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Cameron created this station to provide comfort to those facing treatment. He created this station to help just a little with the down times patients face. He programs the station with upbeat and positive music. “I hope the station gives them some cheer and provides a smile during difficult times.” The station is hosted on Live365, and Cameron must pay for the rights to use the songs to legally broadcast over the internet. Cameron hopes that whether at home or at the hospital, a person wishing to listen could listen from their phone. At last check, Chemo Radio was listened to in 11 countries.
Eastern Hancock High School
Brandon is the son of Eric and Rose Metz of Charlottesville. He plans to attend Taylor University and major in entrepreneurial management. He would like to pursue a career in real estate development because he wants to better communities through building and financing affordable living spaces, green spaces, and small businesses.
Brandon participates in multiple school activities that keep him busy in addition to his volunteer service. At EHHS Brandon is involved as Junior/Senior Class Treasurer, Youth Leadership Council, Senior Year Connection Supervisor, Green Team, Swim Club, Track & Field, and Marching Band.
At Calvary Baptist Church, Brandon has been involved in the VBS program for many years, producing the programs and leading the kids’ activities. He is now the main videographer for VBS, which is something he deeply loves. Brandon also participates in landscaping, various service projects that beautify the church, and plays bass guitar in the worship team every Sunday.
Brandon has earned community service hours in a few creative ways, including with the Eastern Hancock Cross County Team by volunteering at the Charlottesville Lion’s Club Fish Fry. The team took orders and helped fry fish at the annual event. Another way to volunteer for Brandon was by giving time to Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse (NASA) as an actor in a Don’t Drink and Drive commercial where Brandon played the lead role of a drunk driver.
Greenfield-Central High School
Emmy is the daughter of Christopher and Elizabeth Mills of Greenfield. She plans to attend Butler University and major in criminology and psychology. She intends to pursue a career in Forensic psychology because Emmy believes America’s prison system is deeply flawed. Rather than focusing on rehabilitation, Emmy believes prisons in America often focus on punishment, which in her opinion, is why recidivism is so high in this country.
Emmy has been involved extensively with the G-C Drama Club for four years. The club oversees publication and advertising for theatre-related events at Greenfield-Central. Emmy was significant in organizing the haunted house for Trick or Treat for Riley and contributed by donating candy. Additionally, Emmy transformed into a princess, posing for pictures with children and distributing treats. For the holiday bazaar, she assisted in gift-wrapping and preparing Santa’s Station and being an elf to take photos with the children. For Spring Bazaar (which was previously retired) Emmy took the initiative to reintroduce it this year, providing another valuable community event for the club. For Take Pride in Greenfield-Central Day, Emmy contributed to the improvement of her school by performing yard work and cleaning both indoors and outdoors.
Emmy serves as the reigning Riley Festival Queen. She and her court members roamed Riley Festival, helping anyone in need at the festival. They actively promoted the event by participating in the Mayor’s Breakfast and spreading the word among their church communities. Emmy says, “We cherished the opportunity to take photos with the young girls who were captivated by our presence.”
Emmy has many other experiences that have rounded out her volunteer and extracurricular activities in high school such as participating in Keihin Backpack Attack, Agape side walker for horses ridden by clients, NHS activities, volunteering in a kindergarten classroom during spring break, Student Council, Thespians, Spell Bowl, Quiz Bowl, Interact, and National Art Honor Society.
Mt. Vernon High School
Misha is the daughter of Chirag and Falguni Patel of Greenfield. She plans to attend Indiana University and major in biology. Misha wants to be a doctor because she wants to break the stereotype that medical workers are cold and lack empathy. When she grows up, she wants to return the favor to other patients that she felt on the day her grandfather died and was removed from life support. She wants to show them empathy and make them think that everyone in the medical field desires only the best for their patients.
Y-GIVE is a program of the Community Foundation of Hancock County for high school students. It plans and participates in different events that are related to Hancock County. Misha has been in Y-GIVE for three years and helps plan and participate in service activities including Traditions at Brookside, Head Start, Hancock County Senior Services, and Match Day. Misha and her mother belong to the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana and help feed hundreds of devotees each weekend. Misha volunteers at Hancock Health Emergency Department giving service to the medical professionals, patients, visitors, and the volunteer advisor. Misha also participates in multiple school activities like Student Government, the Asian Student Union, the Science Olympiad, and Math and Fine Art Academic Teams.
With Youth Leaders of Hancock County, Misha volunteered at Hope House, where her group was assigned to clean the kitchen. Misha stated, “I don’t think I have ever seen people so passionate about cleaning a kitchen for people they didn’t even know. Everyone wanted to put their best efforts into cleaning a kitchen for the residents of the Hope House. We had a lot of fun working together, which reminded me that service activities are even more memorable when you’re able to do them with other people who are just as willing to give back to the community as you.”
Misha is the Treasurer for the National Honor Society. Through NHS she has volunteered at organizations such as Lambswear, Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, Fortville Community Center’s Elementary Christmas event, Fortville Fire Department’s Trivia Night, and much more. She has helped organize clothes for orphan children who were relocated to different homes, labeled more than 600 food items with donation dates at the soup kitchen, set up craft stations with elementary kids, and helped clean up after the event for Fortville Community Center. “Each of these organizations was run by amazing people that I was thankful to be able to work with. Many of them also had amazing stories behind their beginning, which made me even more thankful to have been able to give my service to them,” says Misha.
Greenfield-Central High School
Linnea is the daughter of Paul and Autumn Walker of Greenfield. She plans to attend DePauw University and major in pre-med, biology, English, and Spanish. Her mom and grandma were her role models and prioritized helping others, and that passion became one of Linnea’s. Helping others inspired her interest in pediatric endocrinology. Linnea has Turner Syndrome, and as a pediatric endocrinologist, she wants to be a positive and supportive doctor for “TS girls” and their parents. Linnea thinks seeing a doctor with similar obstacles is inspiring, and she wants to be that doctor.
Linnea has many volunteer and service-related projects that have kept her busy in the last several years. She has volunteered with National Honor Society-sponsored events, donated, passed out candy, taken pictures with kids at the trunk or treat; and collected for the donation of various school supplies for teacher appreciation weeks. She has been a concessions volunteer for Greenfield Youth Soccer League. Linnea served for Hancock County Feast of Plenty, giving meals and groceries at Thanksgiving to people and families in need across Hancock, Henry, Rush, and east Marion Counties. Her family picked up and delivered anywhere from 24-50 meals and groceries each year. Linnea is an assistant instructor at Wilkerson Dance Studio, helping run music, taking attendance, maintaining classroom order, providing instruction on correct technique, and helping children learn the steps for a performance/routine in the winter and in the spring.
A particularly important project is at Park Chapel Christian Church, in partnership with Lifeline Christian Mission. Locally, Linnea participates in meal packing for underdeveloped countries. She helps feed more than 2,000 people on each occasion and has participated on multiple occasions over the years. Additionally with this organization, she has traveled to Grand Goave, Haiti, for a short-term mission trip where she has participated in the following volunteer work: meal packing; meal distribution; clothing distribution as an assistant shopper for children, teens, and adults; tent repair for mobile vaccination clinics; painting and cleaning in the school managed by Lifeline; formula and diaper distribution for new mothers/infants; assistance maintaining order for people in line to be fitted for glasses.
Eastern Hancock High School
Brooklyn is the daughter of Ryan and Carey Willis of Shirley. She plans to attend the University of Indianapolis and major in nursing. Brooklyn wants to make a difference by improving people’s health and be the person always standing right by their side, fighting their battles with them.
Brooklyn has a long history of giving back. She has been volunteering at the Shirley Volunteer Fire Department since elementary school. The annual hog roast is her favorite place to give her time at SFD. The Charlottesville Lion’s Club is another local place where she gives her time at the local fish fry and the 4-H fair food tent. She loves visiting with people from the community at these events. The Salvation Army needs bell ringers every year, and Brooklyn is happy to oblige some of her time on this endeavor, as well as the local Feast of Plenty, donating, prepping, and passing out meals for Thanksgiving. Brooklyn said, “This year I caught myself tearing up because the residents were so appreciative of the delivery, it made me feel thankful for volunteering my time”. JW Hitting camps provide younger softball athletes training to improve their hitting skills. She has been volunteering at hitting clinics and camps for JW Hitting since middle school. Joy Jam at EHHS was a fun day filled with greeting educators and administrators and learning how to encourage students to find joy in coming to school. Rounding out her busy days was participating in Once Upon a Prom, a wonderful program that helps young ladies feel beautiful for their prom.
The volleyball coach at Eastern Hancock challenged the team to come up with an activity for the community. The activity Brooklyn came up with is called “Hero’s Night.” At the home volleyball game, the team hosted “Hero’s Night” in commemoration of Sept. 11. Firefighters, police officers, military, and medical personnel were invited to attend this event to honor and thank them for their time and service to the community. Service Heroes attended free and received a t-shirt that was designed by Brooklyn. To make this event successful she had to come up with a list of heroes to invite, create a letter, and a t-shirt design. Also, with the help of Eastern Hancock Sports Network, she came up with a video clip to promote the event.
Brighten A Kids Day Together is an event that Brooklyn started this year. The event was started to purchase sensory and therapy toys for patients at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent. Brooklyn has had the privilege to see patients at the hospital grow leaps and bounds with the toys that were on the list. She created a QR code that the community could scan to purchase items off the list. After approval from Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, she was able to promote this event on social media platforms, at school, in the local newspaper, and through friends and family. Recently, the event was promoted at two Eastern Hancock sporting events. A flyer was created and inserted into each program. At each event, anyone who did not have an Amazon account was able to donate money in buckets that were passed around. The Eastern Hancock Essential Skills classroom students will be picking items off the Amazon list to donate with the funds raised. “I feel extremely blessed with how this event turned out, and I cannot thank my community enough for all the support,” says Brooklyn.
CFHC provides philanthropic leadership by encouraging giving, learning, community pride, and civic engagement. Working with caring individuals, families, and organizations to create or grow existing permanent endowment funds is critical to the organization’s mission. These funds generate income that is distributed in the form of grants and scholarships to enrich and enhance life in Hancock County, as well as support the donor’s favorite charitable causes, both at home and afar forever. CFHC has granted millions of dollars since its inception in 1992.