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Williams named Decatur County's Lilly Recipient

The Decatur County Community Foundation is pleased to announce the recipient of Decatur County’s 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship and the four runners- up who will receive the DCCF Community Scholarship.

Lilly Endowment has selected Cooper Williams, a senior at Greensburg Community High School, as this year’s Decatur County recipient. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are known for their community involvement, academic achievement, character and leadership.

Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university.

Williams is the son of Troy and Tammy Williams. He is a student board member for the Decatur County United Fund, serves on the New Direction’s Teen Council, is National Honor Society President, and is an active member of the jazz band, Junior Optimist Club, Mayor’s Youth Council, Academic Team, youth in government, and marching band, among other activities.

The four remaining finalists for the Lilly Scholarship receive a DCCF Community Scholarship. This year, the four runners-up include Janae Comer from Greensburg High School (daughter of Kurt and Heather Comer); Lilly Corya from Greensburg High School (daughter of Bill and Heather Corya); Addie Gauck from North Decatur (daughter of Steve and Kimmie Gauck); and Emma Leap from Greensburg High School (daughter of Ryan Leap and Niki Henningsen). Each of these students will receive a $5,000 scholarship from DCCF.

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship is a competitive award administered in Decatur County by the Decatur County Community Foundation. Sixty Decatur County students began the multi-step process in August by completing an online application and a controlled essay. A selection committee made up of local representatives evaluated each anonymous applicant’s citizenship, leadership, and personal attitude as demonstrated through community involvement, school activities, and employment. Students were also evaluated on academics. A second committee of volunteers from outside the community scored the 60 controlled essays.

The top five scores from these two rounds of evaluations moved on to the finalist round, where they prepared and presented a speech to a new round of judges, along with answering some impromptu questions. Nominees were then submitted to the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, ICI, for the selection of scholarship recipients.

Lilly Endowment created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-99 school year and has supported the program every year since with grants totaling in excess of $505 million. More than 5,200 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception.

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