MONON — A North White student will receive a full-tuition, four-year scholarship as the Community Foundation of White County’s 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar.

Clarisa Rodriguez will receive full tuition to an accredited Indiana college of her choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

She is the daughter of Ponciano Rodriguez Perez and Herminia Reyes Ortiz and plans to attend IUPUI to pursue a degree in health science on her path to becoming a physician assistant.

Other finalists for this year’s scholarship were Keahi Zussman, Rhiley Funk, McKenzie Vogel, Sarah Walder, Brandt Minnicus, Katherine Banes, Zachary Grentencord, Jenison Conkhite and Eduardo Puga.

Whether in the classroom, on the soccer field, participating in the Latino Cultural Association, or volunteering her time in the community, Rodriguez gives her all. She currently ranks first in her class and carries a 4.1 GPA.

Rodriguez is a four-year member of the Latino Cultural Association and currently serves as its president. She is an active member of the Student Council, National Honor Society, Science Bowl (2017 state finalist) and Math Bowl.

Rodriguez was recognized with the Sportsmanship Award in 2018 for the girls soccer team, which she led as captain for two years.

Rodriguez said she is motivated by seeking out her full potential with the firm groundings of her parents’ emphasis on the importance of education.

“They always had told me to create change and become an example of myself,” she said.

As a freshman, she was a founding member of the student-led Latino Cultural Association. The organization has blossomed in the school and community, becoming a pillar for like-minded individuals with similar roots who want to motivate each other in academics.

Rodriguez is recognized as a humble leader among her peers as well as adults. She is self-motivated, driven, outgoing, articulate and extremely well-organized, qualities readily acknowledged by teachers and employers alike.

Always one to strive for excellence, Rodriguez is not afraid to stand out from the crowd to focus on her goals. She has served as the community service chairman for Alliance Bank’s Junior Board of Directors and volunteers each summer for the Tri Kappa food stand at the 4-H Fair. She also volunteers as a translator for Spanish-speaking parents at parent-teacher conferences and during student enrollment.

Among her many other volunteering ventures, Rodriguez has also spent time helping the Monon Food Pantry and the town-wide Summer Bible School program. The Foundation is confident that Rodriguez’s service to her community has only just begun.

The White County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship selection committee included representatives from each school district, in addition to a representative of the Community Foundation of White County. The names of all applicants remain anonymous until introduced at the final interviews.

Out of 34 eligible applicants, 10 finalists were selected for personal interviews. Considerations for selection include financial need, community, school and work involvement, written essay, three recommendation letters, and a B- or better grade average.

Recommendations of the Community Foundation of White County scholarship committee were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana Inc. for final selection of the recipients.

ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 31 regionally accredited degree-granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are recognized as leaders and mentors by both peers and adults in their communities. As Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipients, they will maintain contact with the Community Foundation of White County for four years of college as well as for 10 years after their graduation.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

Including this 23rd cohort, 4,769 full-tuition scholars have been awarded and over $405 million in scholarship tuition has been provided through the LECSP since the program’s inception in 1998.

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