Lilly Scholars

Lilly Scholars
Lilly Scholars

     Kokomo High School seniors Jacob Ashburn and Katelyn Dowden earned the two 2018 Lilly Endowment Scholarships awarded in Howard County – only the second time in 14 years that both scholarships were earned by students from the same school (the last time was in 2015 when two other KHS students earned the Lilly awards).

     Jacob noted: “I am proud that the second Lilly Scholar is my classmate at Kokomo High School! We know each other, and can share in each other’s excitement.”

     Jacob and Katelyn both are students in Kokomo High School’s Advanced College Preparatory Program, but each selected different pathways within this college preparatory program.

     Jacob, the son of Amy Neiheisel and Damon Ashburn, is completing the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, while also taking several Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Jacob said he knows from speaking to past KHS IB Diploma Program graduates that the courses prepare you well for the rigors of college, so he is thankful for the opportunity to be an IB Diploma Candidate at KHS.

     “The IB Diploma Program has been the best part of my Kokomo High School experience,” Jacob explained. “Through the Diploma Program, I’ve spent so much time with my IB classmates that they have become more than friends. We have become a family.”

     Jacob plans to use the Lilly Scholarship to attend Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, where he hopes to study Business Management.

     Katelyn, the daughter of Matthew and Shannon Dowden, will use her Lilly Scholarship to attend her dream school – Indiana Wesleyan University – to study in in one of Indiana’s top nursing programs. Katelyn’s goal is to work as a nurse in surgery & trauma or pediatrics. Katelyn eventually hopes to use her knowledge and skills to provide health care to people in developing countries, such as Haiti.

     “The opportunities I have had at Kokomo High School will definitely give me an advantage when I start college,” Katelyn added.

     Katelyn has focused on taking AP courses in the Kokomo High School College Prep Academy that prepares her for a college nursing program; she completed 3 AP science classes, 2 AP English classes, and 1 AP math class. Additionally, Katelyn is a student in the Health Careers courses at the Kokomo Area Career Center, and is completing the KACC courses necessary to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) by this summer. These CNA classes include a work-based learning experience at a Kokomo nursing home, which Katelyn said has been invaluable.

     “Having that early interaction with patients will put me ahead of my classmates in the nursing program at Indiana Wesleyan,” Katelyn noted.

     Both Jacob and Katelyn added that earning the Lilly Scholarship is a blessing that will help alleviate the financial burdens of college.

     “Honestly, receiving the Lilly Scholarship is the highlight of my high school career,” Katelyn said. “When I learned I had been named a Lilly Scholar, I was speechless. I started crying. I don’t believe I would have been able to attend Indiana Wesleyan without this Lilly Scholarship. I have been in love Indiana Wesleyan for three years, so earning this scholarship is a huge deal..”

     Jacob explained that the Lilly Scholarship will eliminate a great deal of stress during college since he now will not have to worry about finding other ways to finance his education; he can focus on his university classes.

     “This Lilly scholarship is so helpful,” Jacob said. “I was very excited and honored to receive it.”

     The Lilly Scholarship provides full tuition to any accredited public or private nonprofit university in Indiana, and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment. This year, 77 Howard County students applied for the scholarships. Criteria used in the selection process include academic achievement; financial need; potential for success; performance in an interview; and school, community, and work activities.

     Katelyn and Jacob’s resumes are extensive. Both students have been actively involved at Kokomo High School and within the Kokomo community.

     Jacob is co-president of the KHS chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America, and was elected as State Reporter in the Indiana chapter of the FBLA. Additionally, the KHS senior earned eight Top 10 awards during the 2016 and 2017 Indiana FBLA State Leadership Conference. Jacob also is a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board, the KHS Student Council, and the National Honor Society. Jacob competed on the KHS tennis team, and volunteered with the Kokomo Urban Outreach’s Buddy Bag Program.

     Katelyn is captain, and a 4-year starter, of the Kokomo High School softball team, and a member of the National Honor Society, the KHS Student Council, Girls’ League, the KHS Varsity Club, and the HOSA Future Health Professionals club at the Kokomo Area Career Center. Katelyn volunteers with many community organizations, including the Kokomo Rescue Mission… where Katelyn wraps Christmas gifts each year, while also adopting a family for Christmas. Katelyn serves as a Youth Sports Assistant at the Kokomo Family YMCA, and as a volunteer teacher’s assistant at the Carver Community Center.

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