GREENFIELD — Steve Bryant wasn’t a bit surprised to learn Hannah Edwards was a finalist.
The Greenfield-Central High School principal knew the senior student as one who succeeds academically but also gives back to her community, making her a strong competitor for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.
And he was right.
Edwards was selected as one of two Hancock County seniors for the scholarship, which covers the cost of eight semesters of undergraduate study. She was one of 48 students to submit applications this year.
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Edwards, the daughter of Karen and Ken Edwards, plans to attend the University of Indianapolis next year to pursue nursing.
Though her principal wasn’t surprised to learn she’d been picked for the prestigious scholarship, which pays for tuition at any Indiana college, Edwards said she was shocked.
She knew the competition had seven other deserving students, and she wasn’t expecting to be one of winners. Learning she received the scholarship was overwhelming, she said. As a senior in high school, money isn’t something she worries much about now, but she knows what a blessing the scholarship will be as she pursues her college degree.
This year, tuition at University of Indianapolis was just less than $27,000. Over four years, that would cost about $108,000 before room and board. Now, she and her parents can breathe a bit easier knowing they won’t accumulate all of that debt.
“It totally rocked my world, in a good way of course,” Edwards said.
Her parents echoed those sentiments. Their son, James, is a junior at Rose-Hulman, so they fully understand the cost of higher education.
“I just praise God,” Ken Edwards said. “She’s going to be able to go to graduate school debt-free.”
Edwards, the president of Greenfield-Central High School’s student council, is also a member of the school’s National Honor Society and the color guard.
She volunteers with the Destiny Special Needs Color Guard, a program that gives dance opportunities to children with disabilities. She also volunteers in the Andis Women’s and Children’s Unit at Hancock Regional Hospital and for the county’s ReadUP tutoring program.
For her, giving back to the community is a hobby — something she enjoys doing in her free time.
Now she hopes to use that drive to give back as a pediatric nurse. She has four years of undergrad and at least another year of graduate school ahead of her.
Bryant said he knows no matter what Hannah does, she’ll be successful in serving others.
“She has a heart for those who aren’t as fortunate,” Bryant said. “Knowing there’s something bigger than her — that’s Hannah.”
The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship is given annually to two Hancock County high school students. Students in the top 15 percent of their class are eligible to apply for the scholarship. This year, 48 seniors applied, and the field was narrowed to eight students — two from each county high school. Of those eight students, Greenfield-Central’s Hannah Edwards and Eastern Hancock’s Maddie Lee were picked for the scholarship.
Maddie and Hannah will receive a scholarship that pays for eight semesters of undergraduate study at any Indiana college. The other six finalists will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Hancock County Community Foundation.