Milan senior receives full ride to college thru Lilly

Wanda English Burnett

The odds of winning were 54 to 1 and (Ada) Elizabeth Smith was the lucky one!
There was excitement in the air at Milan High School last Thursday, March 31 when the announcement was made that Smith was the winner of the Ripley County Community Foundation 2011 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar award.

“I’m just shaking,” she said breathless after she was called to the office last week to hear the news. Only a select few knew the winner, with her mother, Paula Karsteter, being one of them. She was excited as well, knowing the financial boost this means.

This year there was only one student in Ripley County who received full tuition to the Indiana college of their choice and a $800 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

Smith is the daughter of Jeremy Smith and Paula Karsteter of Milan. The senior plans to major in chemistry/pre-medicine and is leaning toward attending Butler after graduation this spring.

There were 54 applicants for this coveted award in Ripley County this year drawing from six high schools. The Ripley County Community Foundation scholarship committee narrowed the field to five nominees. Then the finalists were submitted to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for the selection of the recipients. ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

The Ripley County Community Foundation scholarship committee is composed of Ripley County residents representing all areas of the county. The committee is not aware of whose application they are viewing as names and schools of students applying for the scholarships are removed from the applications. At the interviews of the finalists, the students are only introduced by their first names, allowing for as much objectivity as possible.

Students who were finalists received the Ripley County Community Scholarship of $1,000. Those receiving the 2011 Ripley County Community Foundation Scholarships are: Jessica Bosse, Oldenburg Academy, daughter of Gerard and Paula Bosse of Batesville; Brooke Gilland, Jac-Cen-Del High School, daughter of Steve and Julie Gilland of Osgood; Arielle Noel, Milan High School, daughter of Holly Noel of Milan; and Meghan Wanstrath, Oldenburg Academy, daughter of Matt and Sherri Wanstrath of Batesville.

The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. According to information from the foundation, Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree. There were 142 scholarships awarded statewide.

Pictured from left are Jane Deiwert with the Ripley County Community Foundation, going over some of the paperwork with Elizabeth Smith of Milan, who said she was breathless after learning she had won the scholarship last Thursday.