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Two MCHS Students are Lilly Scholarship Finalists

 Kohn and Stevenson

November 9, 2017 -- Unity Foundation of La Porte County has announced that two Michigan City High School seniors, Sydney Kohn and Jenna Stevenson, are among nine finalists in La Porte County for the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

Two students from La Porte County will be selected as 2018 Lilly Endowment Community Scholars, to receive a full-tuition scholarship to be used to pursue a baccalaureate degree at any accredited public or private Indiana college or university and an annual $900 book stipend. To date, The Lilly Endowment has provided 4,340 scholarships and more than $372M in tuition and book stipends to Indiana communities through this program.

Other 2018 scholarship finalists and their respective schools are: Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities: Grace Siefker, La Lumiere High School: Olivia Dybing, La Porte High School: Madeleine Nunn and Bailey Scott, South Central High School: Jorden Clemens, Washington Township High School: Rhiana House, and Westville High School: Tricia Kresel. 

Unity Foundation received 80 applications for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship from students throughout La Porte County. Applicants were judged on their academic achievement, service to others, extracurricular activities and, to a lesser extent, financial need. A committee of local volunteers reviewed the applications, not knowing the applicants’ names until after the finalists were selected. The nine finalists are then interviewed, and nominee and alternate names will be submitted to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. for the final selection – which will be announced by the end of December. The fall selection timeline is designed to allow Lilly Scholars more time to apply to their desired accredited public or private nonprofit college or university in Indiana.

Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state. 

The Unity Foundation elects to participate in this program provided by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. through ICI. Maggi Spartz, Unity Foundation President, said, “With funding from the Endowment, we have been able to help 58 amazing young people achieve their dreams. This is one way Unity is ‘investing in our people’ to make La Porte County and our nation even stronger. We are very proud of them and their accomplishments. We are especially pleased that some of the scholars have returned to live and work right here in La Porte County.”

Past Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipients from La Porte County are: Bree Winter, Danielle Adams, Madeline Watterson, Rodrigo Serrano, Rebecca Yaw, Olivia Glowacki, Mariah Micallef, Johnna Belkiewitz, Benjamin Gibbs, Jared Dyjak, Brittany Belkiewitz, Mitchell Orzech, Ryan Byers, Kelsey Tuholski, Jill Fischer, Jackson Troxel, Jessica Nieman, Jana Hunsley, Mindy (Marsh) Heidel, Jada (Anderson) Bush, Melissa Spurr, Aaron Albrecht, Peter Davis, Suzanne Dolembo, Laura Durazzo, Macara (Hostetler) Aloi, Patricia (Jongkind) Willhite, William Kelly, Andrew Knaup, Mary Kutch, Zachary Lute, Sara Mahoney, Cheryl Miller Winters, Mary Rodecap, Melanie Thomas, Elizabeth (Hunter) VanHook, Keith Kalvaitis, Kyle Kownacki, Brett McNeal, Kathryn Meyers, Patricia Minich, Federico Pabon, Alexandra Pagels, Virginia Pagels, Teresa (Spence) Parkhouse, Sarah Valatka, Erica Valdez, Jennifer (Warfel) Juskiewicz, Sandra Wood, Charles Zila, Angela Zolvinski, Jonathan Gray, Jessica Thompson, Anna Kammrath, Karen Wassel, Sondra Jeske, Robert Wedow, Yana Alekseeva and Ian Nielson.

 Since 1992, Unity Foundation of La Porte County has served donors, nonprofits and local communities. As La Porte County’s community foundation, it manages approximately $30 million in assets, administers more than 325 charitable funds, and has distributed approximately $16 million through direct grants and scholarships. The Council on Foundations has deemed Unity Foundation in compliance with all Indiana and national ethical and operating standards for community foundations.

Unity Foundation’s mission is to strengthen La Porte County now and forever by: building permanent endowments; providing leadership; offering philanthropic vehicles for everyone; and, being a catalyst for social and economic vitality. For more information, please visit or call 219-879-0327.