Natalie Robertson, a 2018 graduating student at North Harrison High School, received an unexpected Christmas surprise this year when she answered her phone on Dec. 6. The phone call, confirming that Ms. Robertson is the Harrison County Community Foundation (HCCF)’s 2018 Harrison County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient, was met with true tears of joy.

Ms. Robertson will receive full tuition to the Indiana college or university of her choice, as well as a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment. This scholarship means she and her family will no longer have to worry about the cost of her undergraduate education.

“Receiving this scholarship is a tremendous honor that has already impacted my life in so many ways,” Ms. Robertson said. “I will always remember the day I was notified of being awarded this scholarship as one of the best in my life. It is definitely safe to say that this is the best Christmas present I have ever gotten! There are so many great schools in our state and I am excited to have so many incredible options.”

Ms. Robertson lives in Crandall with her parents, Patrick and Brenda Robertson. Ms. Robertson plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and eventually pursue a degree in the medical field. She is undecided on the college or university she wants to attend.

While at North Harrison, Ms. Robertson was captain of the varsity soccer team. She has also been a member of the varsity swim team, the Unified Track Team, the Academic Team, the Renaissance Club, the Leo Club and Student Council.

Ms. Robertson was involved in the community by working as an elementary volunteer soccer coach, a middle school volunteer swim coach, and a pool lifeguard. Additionally, Ms. Robertson was an honored speaker at a “Faith in Action” retreat, and she was a Hoosier Girls State delegate.

Ms. Robertson said she is thankful for HCCF and the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, and she is grateful for her parents and her siblings, who have always pushed her to be the best version of herself.

“My amazing family members, teachers, and overall community have truly shaped me into the person I am today,” Ms. Robertson said. “I love living in such an inspiring community and I will try my hardest to represent our county well.”

Graduating Harrison County high school students began applying for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in August. Eighty-one students applied. In October, a volunteer committee of four former HCCF board members participated in a blind scoring and interview process.

Six Harrison County applicants were interviewed, and four finalists’ names and applications were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), which administers the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. ICI then chose the scholarship recipient.

ICI is a nonprofit corporation representing 30 regionally accredited degree-granting, nonprofit private colleges and universities in the state. Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment, Inc. initiative to 1)  help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, not-for-profit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

For more information about the HCCF scholarship programs, please contact Heather Stafford, Director of Programs, at 812-738-6668 or heathers@hccfindiana.org.

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