Congratulations to Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS) seniors Alycia Arkenau and Kayden Bensheimer for being named as finalists for the Hancock County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. Each of the four public high schools in Hancock County has two finalists that were selected by the Hancock County Community Foundation. The final two winners for the county will be announced on December ninth and awarded a full four-year tuition scholarship to a public university in Indiana.
The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program seeks to raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana and increase awareness of the impact of Indiana community foundations. This program also supports 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.
Mr. Darrell Thomas, former MVHS Principal, presented Alycia and Kayden their awards at the November School Board Meeting, with Mr. Casey Dodd, current MVHS Principal, introducing Alycia and Kayden.
To become qualifiers for this highly esteemed scholarship, Kayden and Alycia proved their outstanding community service experience as well as academic excellence by being in the top 15% of their graduating class in Hancock County.
Alycia volunteers her time to work as a physical therapy aide, a nursery volunteer, a dance instructor, among others. Throughout her high school career at Mt. Vernon, she has participated in student government, the MV theatre program, National Honor Society, AfriCAN, Campus Life, and Marauder Mentors. Alycia spends her time outside of school at Elite Performing Arts Academy, with this being her 15th year as an academy dancer. She also participates in a church youth group, and places emphasis on her faith in her everyday life.
She plans on continuing her education at either Indiana Wesleyan or University of Indianapolis to major in Exercise Science with a focus of Pre-Physical Therapy. Alycia talks about how her earliest memories have driven her to pursue a career of serving others and making a difference. She notes how she accompanied her mom to a terminally ill family friend’s house to provide physical therapy free of charge. “The relationship my mom and I formed with this patient is one that I will never forget and it is truly what sparked my interest in physical therapy.”
Kayden’s experience in community service includes time spent on the Y-GIVE Youth Philanthropy Board and in the D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). As a member of Y-GIVE, Kayden participated in several different projects: planning a free lunch for the teachers at Head Start, engaging with the preschoolers, and presenting Head Start with a check to aid in their efforts to give children access to quality early education. He also helped to raise funds for Imagination Library and volunteered at the Hancock County Humane Society through Y-GIVE. At Mt. Vernon, he participated in Marauder Mentors, AfriCAN, Leadership Connect Club, wrestling, and was the football team’s captain his senior year.
Kayden plans on attending college at either Purdue University or Trine University as a major in Mechanical Engineering. His passion for physics coupled with an aptitude for math, as well as his hands on learning style and love for creating things, fueled his desire to become an engineer. Kayden notes, “I have always been a kid that has learned in a hands-on, visual fashion, as doing projects and drawing out things always aided my learning process.”
Mt. Vernon is proud to have Alycia and Kayden representing the Mt. Vernon School District and appreciates their exceptional contributions and service to the community.
Mt. Vernon wishes the best of luck to both students in their pursuit of the Lilly Scholarship and all their post-secondary endeavors.