One Scott County student will not have to worry about paying for college after being named the Scott County Community Foundation 2019 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar.
Austin resident Madelyn Shelton was named the 38th student in Scott County to become a Lilly Scholar since 1998. By living in Scott County, Shelton and the other 37 students have been given the opportunity of a lifetime — free tuition at their Indiana school of choice. Each year, one high school senior in Scott County receives a full-tuition scholarship to an accredited public or private nonprofit college or university in Indiana of his or her choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.
“It was a culmination of things. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I never expected to win,” Shelton said about being chosen. “It is a very humbling experience.”
The Scott County Community Foundation selects a Scott County high school senior to recommend to the Independent Colleges of Indiana Inc., a nonprofit corporation that represents 30 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. Once confirmed, the selected Scott County high school senior is named the Lilly Endowment Community Scholar. The full-tuition scholarship saves each recipient’s family hundreds of thousands of dollars in college debt, so they can be free to focus on their studies and graduate from college without worrying about how to repay hefty student loans.
“I am thankful to the Community Foundation for helping me. The weight of the burden of paying for college is lifted,” Shelton said.
According to the Scott County Community Foundation, student applicants were judged based on financial consideration, community involvement, extra-curricular activities, work activities, academics, honors and awards, letters of recommendation and two essays. From the application submissions, several students went through an interview process before the scholarship committee selected one nominee and two alternates.
Shelton, a senior at Scottsburg High School, plans to attend Hanover College this fall, majoring in history and minoring in political science.
“I wanted a campus that was small and close. This is home, and this is where I am supposed to be,” Shelton said.
Shelton’s parents, James and Michelle Shelton, serve their community as well. Shelton’s father works at the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, and her mother works at Scott County Partnership.
“Community service and volunteering have been a part of my family,” Shelton said. “It’s a personal thing. It’s what drives me every morning. My life isn’t about me.”
After applying to Hanover College, Shelton received a merit-based scholarship to cover the cost of attendance and one month of travel expenses for studying abroad. The merit-based scholarship combined with the 2019 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar allows Shelton to go to college without any debt.
“It is a huge honor to be one of the Top 10 students in the county. I never thought I could ever achieve anything like this,” Shelton said.