Decatur County Community Foundation Announces Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Recipient

Rylie Smith has been named the recipient of the Decatur County Community Foundation’s 2017 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.  She will receive full tuition for four years to the Indiana college of her choice, along with a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

Rylie is the daughter of Daniel and Jennifer Smith and attends Greensburg Community High School. The Lilly Scholar has been an active leader throughout her high school career.  In school, Rylie was a Student Ambassador, Hoosier Girls State Delegate and Student Council President.  She was also a member of the Junior Optimist Club, National Honor Society, School Improvement Team, Show Choir, Math Academic Team, Speech Team and FCA.  She was a member of SADD Club where she served as Vice President and was a member of the Indiana SADD Student Leadership Council.  She was also a member of the Varsity Soccer and Track and Field teams.

Rylie has also been active in her community by helping with projects such as Shop-with-a-Cop, Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods and is a soccer referee for the Decatur County Youth Soccer Club.  She volunteers at the Bread of Life food pantry and is the administrative assistant for Priority Project Resources.

Rylie plans on majoring in creative writing and pre-law in college.  She is in the process of trying to decide which school she will be attending next fall.

The Decatur County Community Foundation also recognized the accomplishments of the four semi-finalists by awarding each of them a $5,000 DCCF scholarship.  This scholarship can be used over four years at any Indiana college.  Those receiving the Decatur County Community Foundation Scholarship are:  Ethan Eldridge from Oldenburg Academy, son of Matt and Penny Eldridge; Liam Mungcal from Oldenburg Academy, son of Noel and Luna Mungcal; Samantha Nobbe from Oldenburg Academy, daughter of David and Linda Nobbe; and Alex Sefton from Greensburg Community High School, son of Mike and Kay Sefton.

Decatur County’s Lilly Scholar and four semi-finalists were selected from 117 applications submitted by high school seniors who live in Decatur County.  Students, who remained anonymous throughout the process, were ranked on academic performance, community and school activities, work experience and a controlled written essay.  The five students with the highest scores became the semi-finalists.  These applicants then went through a rigorous process, which included an oral presentation and interview.  After all of the judging was completed, the finalists’ names were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for selection of the recipient.  ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

Jenny Schebler, Scholarship Program Manager for the Decatur County Community Foundation stated “This is a wonderful group of students and we are so lucky to have them be a part of our community.  Several of the students indicated that they plan on returning to Decatur County after they graduate from college.  This is so exciting to hear!   No matter what path these students choose, I know that they will be very successful.”

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education.  There were 142 scholarship awarded statewide this year.