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Decatur Co. Lilly Finalists Announced

Pictured left to right: Addie Gauck, Lilly Corya, Cooper Williams, Janae Comer, and Emma Leap

The Decatur County Community Foundation has announced the finalists for Decatur County’s 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

Decatur County had 60 students begin the competitive process in August by completing an online application and a controlled essay. The application and essay are kept anonymous as students are identified by numbers only.

The online application was reviewed by a six-member committee made up of representatives from various community entities. These representatives scored each applicant’s citizenship, leadership, and personal attitude based on community involvement, school activities, and work experience. Students were also evaluated on academics. A second committee of two volunteers from outside the county scored the controlled essays.

Scores from these two rounds were averaged, and the top five students have moved on to the finalist round. Those top scorers include: Janae Comer, daughter of Kurt and Heather Comer; Lilly Corya, daughter of Bill and Heather Corya; Addie Gauck, daughter of Steve and Kimmie Gauck; Emma Leap, daughter of Andrea Henningsen and Ryan Leap; and Cooper Williams, son of Troy and Tammy Williams. Addie Gauck attends North Decatur High School and Janae Comer, Lilly Corya, Emma Leap and Cooper Williams all attend Greensburg Community High School.

These five students recently completed the last phase of the selection process. This round of judging was also anonymous and was scored by a third set of new evaluators. During this step, each finalist prepared an oral presentation on a topic of their choice. Students also answered a series of impromptu interview questions.

Scores from all three rounds of evaluations are now sent to the Independent Colleges of Indiana to formally determine a winner. The top student will receive full tuition to the Indiana school of his or her choice, along with a $900 book stipend. The four remaining semi-finalists will receive a $5,000 DCCF Community Scholarship. The Decatur County recipient should be announced in December.

Since the 1997-98 school year, Lilly Endowment Inc. has provided over $486M in grant support for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. Administered statewide by Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. with local support from Indiana community foundations, more than 5,000 Indiana high school students have been awarded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

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