By David Hazledine
Wawasee High School senior Allyson Eppert was named a recipient of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for Kosciusko County in an emotional presentation Tuesday, Jan. 11. The scholarship provides full tuition, fees and an allocation for books and equipment for four years of full-time undergraduate study at any eligible Indiana university.
Eppert was ushered into a room full of teachers, counselors and administrators, where she learned for the first time of the scholarship. Stephanie Overbey, CEO of Kosciusko County Community Foundation, which administers Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships for the county, was on hand to make the presentation.
Eppert was originally selected as an alternate candidate and became an official recipient after Regan Brouwer of Warsaw Community High School declined the scholarship in order to accept an offer at Northwestern University in Illinois. “We are thrilled that Allyson is receiving this award,” said Overbey, “She is a truly deserving and remarkable young woman.”
Each county in Indiana may name two Lilly Scholarships annually. Ryan Brown of Whitko High School was the other Kosciusko County student named.
Eppert’s application was chosen due to her exceptional academic achievement, community involvement, character and leadership, said Overbey.
“Eppert is a straight-A honor student who finds time to take part in extra-curricular activities while working part-time as a waitress and helping to care for her younger siblings,” she said. “At school, she is part of the National Honor Society and color guard. She has volunteered as a Sunday school teacher at North Webster Church of God and at a local breeder, caring for animals.”
In one reference, a teacher described Eppert as “the most deserving of all the students I’ve written a recommendation for.”
“Allyson is an amazing all around person,” said another reference. “She is extremely friendly and outgoing. She cares deeply for others and knows what it takes to succeed.”
Following the presentation, a visibly moved Eppert shared hugs with teachers and counselors who have worked with her through the years.
“This opens up a lot of opportunities for me, for my future, where I want to go,” Eppert explained.
After graduation, Eppert said she plans to study criminal psychology, to study “how people’s brains work, why people think the way they do.” Though she is leaning toward Ball State University, in the coming months she hopes to visit several schools before making her final decision.
“Allyson is a very deserving student,” exclaimed WHS Principal Geoff Walmer, “And knowing that she’s such an amazing kid, the fact that she now gets to choose her destination, choose her next step as opposed to being pigeon-holed into some options is amazing because she’s the type of person that will choose the best decisions.”
Walmer noted the Lilly Endowment Community Scholars for 2020-21 were Wawasee students Samantha Kolberg and Nyla White. Wawasee Superintendent Dr. Stephen Troyer also expressed pride in Eppert’s and Wawasee High School’s accomplishments.
Annually since 1998, Lilly Endowment Inc. has funded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. The scholarship program is administered by Independent Colleges of Indiana, which serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, nonprofit colleges and universities.