After a very competitive selection process that included academic qualification through SAT scores followed by an assessment of written and verbal communication skills that focused on community service and leadership, the LaGrange County Community Foundation (LCCF) Board of Directors, in partnership with Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), has announced this year’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient for LaGrange County. The 2013 awardee is Westview High School senior Brett Yoder, son of Ronald and Brenda Yoder of Shipshewana.
Yoder responded to the announcement of his selection by saying, “I am very, very appreciative of this award. I feel blessed that I would be considered for this opportunity.”
Yoder will receive eight semesters of full tuition at the accredited Indiana college or university of his choice along with a $900 yearly stipend for books and required materials. He has been accepted at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he plans to double major in elementary education and functional skills education.
In the powerful essay that earned him an interview with representatives from the LCCF Board of Directors as one of five outstanding scholarship finalists, Yoder emphasized that service to his community has been “ingrained” in him since he was young.
In his essay, he explained that it was his volunteer service at the annual Disability Walk at Lakeland and service as a cadet teacher in the functional skills classroom at Westview that has fostered a life-changing decision to pursue education and especially functional skills education as a career choice. He wrote, “…I have seen the impact exceptional leaders in education can have by bringing hope and joy to young and disabled children. I want to be a leader with this kind of impact.”
Brett Yoder has been on the high honor roll throughout high school and also has served as captain of the Westview Basketball team. In addition, he has served as president of the Mennonite Youth Fellowship at his church and vice president of the LIFE Youth Philanthropy Pod. He is a member of the National Honor Society, PLUS and the Spanish Club.
The Lilly Endowment community scholarships are the result of a statewide initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a Bachelor’s degree. The scholarship program is offered each year on behalf of the Lilly Endowment as a grant opportunity to LCCF and other Hoosier community foundations by Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI). ICI audits each community foundation for process consistency and scoring accuracy and has the power of final approval on all scholarship decisions.
Previous awardees of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for LaGrange County have included Kiska Carr from Prairie Heights High School (2012) and Caleb Lehman from Lakeland High School (2011). Since 1998, 32 LaGrange County residents have been awarded this scholarship.