Foundation honors two as Lilly scholars

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Hackbarth, Kessens receive full-tuition scholarships

By The Staff

PERRY COUNTY -  Steve Upmeyer, board president of the Perry County Community Foundation, has announced this year's recipients of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.  

Ryan W. Kessens and Jason Hackbarth have been selected to receive the full-tuition, four-year scholarships to the Indiana college of their choice, as well as an $800 stipend for books and equipment.

Kessens is a senior at Perry Central High School and the son of Ronnie and Barbara Kessens. He plans to attend Indiana University and will major in biochemistry.  Team captain for the school's English Academic Bowl when when it was named conference champions in 2008, he has been a member of the National Honor Society for three years, Key, math and Spanish clubs and FFA.

He volunteers for Big Brothers-Big Sisters and has been a member of the baseball team and 4-H for the past four years. He received two grand-champion awards and was club treasurer during his time in 4-H.

The high-school senior said he appreciates the trust placed in him. "I want to thank everyone at the Perry County Community Foundation for putting their trust in me to use the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship responsibly. I can assure the scholarship committee that I will work very hard in college and not waste this great opportunity. Thank you very much."

Son of David and Janice Hackbarth, Jason Hackbarth is a senior at Tell City High School and plans to attend Purdue University to study aeronautical engineering. He has been a member of the student council, academic math and science teams and Renaissance Student Steering Committee. He has been a member of the basketball and baseball teams and French and pep clubs for the past four years and has attended the Evan Bayh Leadership Summit, served as a senate page for State Sen. Richard Young and completed We the Youth of Perry County Leadership classes.

He also attended mission trips to New Orleans in 2007 and 2008 as well as the foreign-language class trip to France.

Hackbarth said the Lilly scholarship provides a life-changing opportunity.

"I am very honored to receive the Lilly Scholarship. It will have a huge positive impact on my future. I would like to thank the Perry County Community Foundation and the Lilly Endowment for presenting me with the opportunity of a lifetime."

The foundation's scholarship committee evaluated 22 applicants in a blind application process. The evaluation process was based on grade-point averages, SAT and ACT scores, involvement in community and school activities and written essays.  

"Ranking each applicant according to the established criteria helped us narrow the number selected for interviews down to four," said Upmeyer, chair of the scholarship committee. "Even so, every student we interviewed was outstanding and we would have been proud for any of them to receive the award."

After the interview process, the committee submitted its nominees to Independent Colleges of Indiana for final review and approval. ICI, a nonprofit organization representing 31 independent Indiana colleges and universities, oversees statewide administration of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor's degree.

A total of 216 scholarships are to be awarded statewide.

For more information about the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship or the Perry County Community Foundation, contact Sally Houzanme at (812) 547-3176 or e-mail at sallyh@perrycommunityfoundation.org, or visit www.perrycommunityfoundation.org.

The Perry County Community Foundation is a member of the Community Foundation Alliance in Evansville.