Community Foundation honors area students

Community Foundation honors area students

Posted Chronicle-Tribune: Sunday, March 17, 2013 4:00 am |  By Derek Beigh

Six of Grant County’s finest young minds received recognition for their accomplishments at the 2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Banquet Thursday.

The event, at Meshingomesia Country and Social Club, honored six students who are finalists for full-ride college awards presented by the Community Foundation and Lilly Foundation.

Two winners will be announced April 1. The remaining students will receive Robert R. Board and Janice M. Board Scholarships for $4,500 renewable each year, as opposed to a one-time $2,000 award previously.

Teachers, administrators, mentors and parents joined the finalists and Community Foundation employees for dinner and speeches at the banquet.

“This is my third year on the Lilly committee… and the students this year, from top to bottom, are the best I’ve seen,” said Community Foundation President Marty Harker. “Each of you is deserving of a Lilly scholarship.”

Each student received a trophy recognizing his or her accomplishment and the opportunity to share a few words.

Eastbrook High School senior Logan Dooley thanked the Community Foundation, EHS, Superintendent Brett Garrett, Principal Pat McLaughlin and Guidance Counselor Dee Ballinger, among others.

“It was easy to tell who my true, dedicated friends are this summer when I … told them I want to film a whole movie, edit it and have it done in one summer. Most people, when I told them this, gave me a wide-eyed, open-mouthed ‘You’re crazy’ kind of look,” Dooley said. “My friends gave me the exact same … look and then said, ‘I’m in.’”

The King’s Academy senior Joel Kiers thanked Headmaster Tony Miner, whom he said has made the “dilapidated building” his “second home,” as well as employer Steve Bedi and his parents.

“I want to thank my dad for being an example to me of a father … I don’t know how many parents stay up until their child comes in the front door, even in the wee hours of the morning. He does,” Kiers said.

Kiers also joked about his mom’s role as an encourager.

“Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean like, ‘Joel, you can do it. You’re a big boy now,’” he said with a laugh. “We’re talking like, ‘Joel, get to work. Get things done. Do your homework.’”

Madison-Grant High School senior Jennifer Daniel thanked Principal Phil Nikirk, her three dual credit teachers — English teacher Sally Herring, Spanish teacher Pam Richards and Speech teacher Donna Haviland — and her parents.

“If I could grow up to be the next Sally Herring, I would be a very successful person and be very happy,” she said.

Marion High School senior Nithia Chowattukunnel thanked math teacher and tennis coach Doug Porter, her older brother and her parents.

Chowattukunnel talked about a time when her brother first went to college that they both had difficult tests and she bested him with a 56 percent to his 55.

“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” she said with a laugh. “I’m really glad he’s my brother. He’s set the bar high not just academically, but in sports and in everything.”

Mississinewa High School senior Abram Fleming thanked Student Council sponsor and Spanish teacher Anna McGuire, retired DECA teacher Becky Kammeyer and former MHS Principal Lezlie Winter, among others.

“Gracias, senora,” he said to McGuire.

Oak Hill High School Senior Christine Harper thanked her parents, Chemistry teacher and swim coach Sarah Matthews and her best friend, Hannah Brown.

“This is not advice many people would hear, but my dad would tell me to calm down and de-stress,” she said. “One night… he told me, ‘I think you need to just not do your homework.’ … I appreciate you looking out for me mentally and emotionally.

Kiers’ parents, Ken and Greta, said it was a joy to see Joel honored.

“I’m proud of the young man that he’s grown into,” Ken said.

“We really appreciate the Community Foundation and Lilly Foundation for doing this,” Greta added.

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