Scholarly Pursuits: Local Lilly Endowment scholarship finalists announced

0
2104

HANCOCK COUNTY — Eight of the most accomplished high school seniors in Hancock County are in the running to receive a full-tuition, four-year Lilly Endowment Scholarship upon graduating in the spring.

The Hancock County Community Foundation announced the eight finalists last week.

Each year, the foundation administers the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in Hancock County, recommending two students from each of the county’s four high schools to compete for the high-dollar award. Two winners will be announced in December.

Last year’s recipients were Maitlyn Griner of Mt. Vernon High School and Emma Mann of New Palestine High School.

This year’s nominees include: Mia Griesmeyer and Sydney Hayes (Eastern Hancock High School); Claire Bishop and Trey Smith (Greenfield-Central High School); Lillianna Fronek and Ella Hubbell (Mt. Vernon High School); and Aynslee Dellacca and Madelyn Potter (New Palestine High School).

Local principals said they couldn’t be prouder of this year’s nominees.

“Greenfield-Central has sent some pretty strong Lilly Scholarship finalists, and this year is no exception,” said Greenfield-Central High School principal Jason Cary. “Claire and Trey are wonderful representatives of our school and our community, and they will make very strong candidates to the judges. We know the competition is always fierce with such great school systems in Hancock County, and we know Claire and Trey will represent us well.”

Eastern Hancock High School principal Adam Barton said it’s an honor for any student to be nominated for the prestigious Lilly Endowment scholarship.

“We are very proud of both Mia and Sydney and what they do each day to represent Eastern Hancock,” he said.

“Both students have worked throughout their high school careers to serve their communities through service projects, and this scholarship would allow them the opportunity to continue to serve others. We wish (them both) the best of luck in the next part of the scholarship process.”

New Palestine High School principal James Voelz shared the same sentiments for his school’s nominees.

“Aynslee and Maddy are awesome representatives for NPHS and our community. They are both student leaders and their positive attitudes shine everyday in our classrooms, hallways and after school activities. I have known these young ladies for six years and feel so incredibly proud of this accomplishment,” he said.

Get to know this year’s Hancock County scholarship finalists:

 Claire Bishop

Claire Bishop

Greenfield-Central High School

Claire is the daughter of James and Nicole Bishop of Pendleton. She plans to attend Purdue University and major in Brain and Behavioral or Psychological Sciences, with plans to become an organizational psychologist in a corporate environment.

Bishop has emerged as a leader through a variety of organizations and community service work over the years, including the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, where she’s served as a student ambassador and Student Advisory president.

She has taught robotics to young girls through the TechPoint Foundation for Youth and hosted a podcast where she interviewed professionals in a STEM-related industry. Bishop has also volunteered at various schools as a VEX Robotics team mentor, having competed in VEX Robotics for many years.

Bishop has been a 10-year member of Hancock County 4-H, culminating with her being crowned the 2022 Hancock County 4-H Fair Queen. She has participated in Hancock County 4-H Junior Leaders since 2017 and has participated in a wide variety of service projects. She is also president of the Hancock County 4-H Rabbit Club and Country Kritters 4-H Club, and serves on the Hancock County Junior Swine Superintendent Board.

The teen has also been an active volunteer through Changing Footprints in Greenfield, where she’s helped clean and organize donated shoes and help children find the perfect pair for them. She’s also applied her love of teaching and music to serve her church, leading worship youth group music and working in the 2-year-olds’ classroom. She’s also served on the Hancock County Children’s Choir Student Council.

Aynslee Dellacca

Aynslee Dellacca

New Palestine High School

Aynslee is the daughter of David and DeInda Dellacca of Greenfield. She plans to attend the University of Notre Dame and major in anthropology or archaeology. Her dream since childhood has been to become an archaeologist after being inspired by a children’s book about ancient Egypt.

Aynslee has been active in her church youth group, through which she’s served the community by assisting local food pantries and serving at her church. In addition to youth group, she has also been part of a group called Challenge Girls, which served at places like the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, St. Vincent DePaul’s and Gleaners Food Bank proper to the COVID pandemic. They also volunteered at nursing homes, made gifts for the homeless, donated gifts to Toys for Tots, caroled for the Salvation Army and helped parishioners with yard work.

Last year, Aynslee’s color guard team began holding clinics for younger students. She was picked by her director to be one of the four girls who choreographed a show for them to learn and then went to the intermediate and junior high schools to promote the clinic. The culmination of the clinic was the group being able to perform during halftime at a high school football game. This clinic led to 20 of the students joining the guard’s cadet team.

Another large part of Aynslee’s life has been dedicated to Girl Scouts and all the service work that entails. Projects have ranged from collecting and donating toys and clothes for a Miami Indian Reservation to collecting materials and making dog beds for a local animal shelter. She is currently working with Love INC to create and stock a blessing box in New Palestine.

Aynslee’s school activities have included winter guard, newspaper, dance performance class, theater, and We the People.

Lillianna Fronek

Lillianna Fronek

Mt. Vernon High School

Lillianna is the daughter of Donald and Amanda Fronek of McCordsville. She plans to attend Purdue University and major in horticulture, botany, or plant molecular biology, with plans to pursue a career in horticulture.

Lillianna’s interest in horticulture is evidenced by her community service work. She was the Student Garden Manager and worked with the Vernon Township Trustee and Community Engagement Director to create a community garden which provided 25 plots for community members and generated 300 pounds of fresh produce for local food pantries.

Lilliana also volunteered through the Fortville Area Resource Mission (FARM) and the Hancock County Food Pantry.

The teen has also volunteered for the Vernon Township Fire Department, where she’s cleaned the station, organized files, played a patient or victim in training exercises and served as a greeter for events. She’s also volunteered at Fortville’s Winterfest, assisting with Kids Corner.

Prior to COVID, she regularly played euchre with a group at Traditions at Brookside.

 Mia Griesmeyer

Mia Griesmeyer

Eastern Hancock High School

Mia is the daughter of Troy Griesmeyer and Jasmine Lee, both of Greenfield. She plans to attend Indiana Wesleyan University and major in psychology, with hopes of pursuing a career in clinical psychology or mental health counseling.

One of Mia’s favorite community service projects was a church project helping build the Isaiah House, which will be used to house foster children between placements. She also took part in a Community Serve Day through her church, placing gravel in a nature preserve.

Mia has helped with cleaning, repair work and outdoor tasks for several organizations, including Hancock County Senior Services and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greenfield. She’s also served meals at the Lisa Muegge Feast of Plenty for the past four years.

Through the Eastern Hancock Leadership Class, Mia was the event organizer for a reunion of students from the previous 11 graduating classes. She’s also taken part in a number of other school organizations, including the Ground Zero Bible Study, student council, Bring Change to Mind, National Honor Society, and Eastern Hancock Royal Athletic Council.

Sydney Hayes

Sydney Hayes

Eastern Hancock High School

Sydney is the daughter of Brandon and Rebecca Hayes of Greenfield. She plans to attend Indiana University and major in psychology and American Sign Language. She would like to become a clinical psychologist and provide mental health services to the deaf community.

Much of her community service has centered around her love for animals. Sydney has volunteered as a side walker for Agape Therapeutic Riding Service and has helped the Hancock County Humane Society with caring for animals and taking care of the facility. She plans to continue serving at both organizations.

She was first introduced to community service by serving at the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen alongside her mother and grandmother when she was young. She’s since served at the kitchen and fish fry fundraisers at the Charlottesville Fire Department and Lions Club over the years.

Throughout school, she has been active in volleyball and track and field. She’s also a two-year member of the National Honor Society, through which she’s helped with Halloween trunk-or-treat events for young kids.

Ella Hubbell

Ella Hubbell

Mt. Vernon High School

Ella is the daughter of Jonathan and Lori Hubbell of McCordsville. She plans to attend Purdue University and major in aeronautical or astronautical engineering. She would like to become an aerospace engineer because of her long-term love of aviation.

Her love of aviation has led to her volunteering with Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles Organization, which aims to get children excited about aviation. The organization provides children with their first flight free of charge, and Ella has helped with paperwork and printing commemorative photos of their experience.

Ella also does volunteer work through her church. Since 2018, she has volunteered at the Giving Garden, which provides fresh produce to local food pantries. She’s also helped with Vacation Bible School each summer and volunteers as a preschool aftercare assistant at a Christian school.

Throughout high school, Ella has participated in the Marauder Mentor program, which helps incoming freshmen get acclimated to the school. She has also been involved in Spanish Club, tennis, Small Smiles Club, Green Team and 4-H at Mt. Vernon High School.

Madelyn Potter

Madelyn Potter

New Palestine High School

Madelyn is the daughter of Austin and Jamie Potter of New Palestine. She plans to attend Taylor University and major in biology. She would like to combine her two loves of science and children to become a pediatric physician’s associate.

Madelyn has volunteered in a number of capacities over the years, including volunteering at Hope Center Indy for the past four years. Her work initially involved working on the Redefined Hope boutique fashion shows, which led her to start a program that provides high-quality hygiene products for residents there. In 2015 Madelyn’s family became part of Safe Families for Children, hosting children for up to five months while their parents deal with a crisis. This led to them becoming a foster family in 2020, which sparked Madelyn’s desire to pursue a career helping children.

The teen has served on her church’s youth leadership team for the past few years. During that time, she played in the church’s youth band, led a small group of younger students and helped with events including Vacation Bible School and church camp.

Madelyn has found a way to share her love of soccer and the arts through community service as well. She has volunteered at local soccer camps to encourage younger students to have fun while living an active lifestyle, and has volunteered with the National Art Honor Society to promote the love of art in the community. She also participates in National Honor Society, tennis, soccer, Science National Honor Society, and NP Life at her school.

Trey Smith

Trey Smith

Greenfield-Central High School

Trey is the son of Brandon and Kristina Smith of Greenfield. He plans to attend Butler University and major in communications and political science. He plans to pursue a career in communications.

Trey has dealt with Celiac Disease since he was in third grade. This led him to explore how research into treatment and prevention of the disease takes place, which sparked his interest in political science. It has also led to him becoming involved in the Celiac Disease Foundation, where he is currently training to become a State Advocate Ambassador. He plans to continue serving in this way for the rest of his life.

A different type of health crisis also led to service work in Trey’s life. When his younger brother was diagnosed with cancer, he started a campaign with his own piggy bank called Pigs Against Cancer at his elementary school. He worked with his parents and school leaders to fundraise and talk about childhood cancer, and took the winning pig to the cancer clinic at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital for a photo shoot.

Trey has been a faithful weekly volunteer in the children’s ministry at his church by running the audio-visual equipment for the worship service. He has also been a member of his school’s drama club, which has helped out with various community service projects. Trey’s other school activities have included Comedy Sportz Improv, International Thespian Society, National Honor Society, and Student Leadership Academy.