Mt. Vernon High School senior, Tessa Freeman, was one of two seniors in Hancock County to receive the coveted Lilly Endowment Scholarship. She will receive a full four-year tuition at an Indiana college or university. Both winners were formally recognized at a reception hosted by the Hancock County Community Foundation (HCCF) on December 10th. The President of the HCCF, the HCCF Committee Chair, school administrators, and past Lilly scholars all spoke to honor the scholarship recipients.
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.
Tessa Freeman was thrilled to receive this scholarship, stating, “[Winning this scholarship] is a life-changing moment and I am still in shock. The eight finalists were all so deserving, so when I found out I won, I could not believe it!” She also mentioned that she applied for the Lilly Scholarship because it aligned with the values that she has, which include: serving others and loving your community. Tessa is eager to use this opportunity to give back to whatever community she may land in.
Though there could only be two winners, Mt. Vernon High School had two highly qualified finalists, Tony Fleming and Tessa Freeman. At the MVCSC School Board Meeting in November, Mark Anderson, an Education Committee Member of the Hancock County Community Foundation, presented 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 course of study, to be completed in four years, at any accredited Indiana public or private college or university.. The applications were reviewed blindly, and community service is one of the primary considerations for this scholarship. 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.”
MVHS Principal, Mr. Casey Dodd, introduced Tessa and Tony as the Lilly Endowment finalists at the November 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.”
MVCSC is extremely proud of Tessa and Tony for being hardworking students with their academics, while also prioritizing the importance of giving back to your community. Mt. Vernon Schools wishes both of them the best of luck in her future endeavors!