Two hard-working Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS) students, Tessa Freeman and Tony Fleming, were recently announced as finalists for the Lilly Endowment Scholarship and were recognized at the November MVCSC School Board meeting. The Lilly Endowment Scholarship winner is awarded four years of tuition to any Indiana school of their choice based on their exceeding performance in academics, school involvement, and most importantly, community service.
Two finalists were chosen from each Hancock County high school. The finalists showed a passion for giving back to their community while maintaining a strong academic performance and participating in extracurriculars in their school as well. After they were selected, they went through an interview process for the panel to get to know them and their accomplishments.
At the MVCSC School Board Meeting in November, Mark Anderson, an Education Committee Member of the Hancock County Community Foundation, presented the scholarship to the two Mt. Vernon finalists. He shared that the applicants must be ranked in the top 15% of their class and be pursuing a baccalaureate degree in Indiana. The applications were reviewed blindly, and community service is one of the primary considerations for this scholarship.
The MVHS Principal, Mr. Casey Dodd, introduced Tessa and Tony at the MVCSC School Board meeting, stating, “There are approximately 1,000 seniors in Hancock County. These two exceptional Mt. Vernon students are in elite company with this scholarship. We wish them the best of luck as they move on to the next phase of their successful lives.”
Tessa Freeman is currently ranked fourth in her class and participates in Student Government, Champions Together, Marauder Mentors, Best Buddies, and Marauder Mob (spirit club) at MVHS. She is also a varsity athlete competing in basketball and cross country. During her senior year, Tessa started a chapter of Champions Together. Champions Together is a partnership between IHSAA and Special Olympics Indiana that allows students, with and without disabilities, to participate in sports and grow from each others’ abilities. She started this initiative on her own and is now the president of Champions Together at MVHS with about 40 members in support of her goal.
Tessa also continues to give back to her community outside of school by volunteering with Hancock Regional Hospital, Emma’s Art Kits, and Village of Merici. She is also a member of the Y-Give Youth Board and Hope House Executive Youth Board. She is interested in attending Notre Dame or Indiana University and wants to pursue Neuroscience.
Tony Fleming is currently ranked second in his class and participates in Student Government as the Executive President, Marauder Mentoring, Theater, National Honor Society, One World, AfriCAN, Best Buddies, and Champions Together. Tony Fleming was one of the students to help found One World. One World is a new club at MVHS that works to help foreign exchange students with their cultural transition and connect them with MVHS students who have similar interests to help them build new relationships at our school.
Outside of school, Tony has also been dedicated to giving back to the community by working with families in need through “Kid’s Closet” and the Hope House Executive Youth Board. He also volunteers at Head Start and is a producer for the MVHS musical, “Shrek.”
MVCSC is extremely proud of Tessa and Tony for their hard work in academics and extracurriculars as well as their dedication to community service. The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation wishes them the best of luck in the scholarship competition and in their future endeavors!