Two local students awarded with Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships

The Kosciusko County Community Foundation is pleased to announce this year’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships recipients: Jordyn Leininger and Ryun Hoffert.

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition scholarship that allows two recipients from each participating Indiana county to attend an Indiana college or university of their choice. In Kosciusko County, the Community Foundation appoints a committee to lead a blind review process of all local applications.

Jordyn Leininger

Jordyn Leininger is a senior at Whitko High School. From a third-generation farming family, Jordyn carefully considered a career in agriculture before realizing she was better suited for something else: dermatology.

“Although I’m very involved in agriculture, my favorite part of taking care of animals was when they would develop skin conditions and I got to play animal dermatologist,” Jordyn wrote in one of her application essays. After seeking help from a professional dermatologist herself, Jordyn realized where she wanted to direct her future.

Jordyn attributes much of her personal growth to agriculture. “Working on a farm, I learned how to be selfless – the animals always come first,” Jordyn said. “I also learned how to work well with others, have good communication and be flexible.” She carries those lessons with her as she serves in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), participates in Miss Indiana and Peacekeepers, mentors younger students and volunteers throughout the community. “I want to leave behind a legacy of kindness,” she added.

Jordyn was celebrated with a surprise award ceremony on December 13 at Whitko High School. Her first 4-H sheep, Percy (who firmly believes he’s a household pet) was also present for the occasion.

Ryun Hoffert

Ryun Hoffert is a senior at Warsaw Community High School. He is an active track team member and has served on Teen Court, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Tiger Leadership Council, Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, and more. He also worked at Baker Youth Club and interned for Judge McGrath, among other positions. Ryun will graduate in May 2023 with honors.

“I have been blessed to grow up in a family that is dedicated to helping people in need by making a positive impact. The foster care and adoption processes made my family whole and opened my eyes to the needs of vulnerable people,” Ryun wrote in one of his scholarship application essays.

After high school, he plans to pursue a degree in law. “Due to my experiences with family and underserved populations, my career goal is to pursue law and become a public defender,” he said. “I desire to be a guiding light for clients in a world that may have communicated they are the sum of their choices.”

Ryun was celebrated with a surprise award ceremony on December 12 at Warsaw Community High School.

How Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are selected

Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides full tuition, fees, and an allocation for books and equipment for four years of full-time undergraduate study at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university.

The Kosciusko County selection process for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship begins at the Community Foundation. Scholarship reviewers evaluate each application without access to the students’ names or other identifying information. Qualifying criteria include academic excellence, community service, extracurricular involvement, work experience, references and essay responses.

Once the committee selects the finalists, the Community Foundation submits these applicants to Independent College of Indiana (ICI), the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship program which serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, for the final selection of recipients.

Annually since 1998, Lilly Endowment Inc. has funded the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education in the belief that education is indispensable to the personal, civic, and economic well-being of Indiana communities and residents. Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by members of the Lilly family through stock gifts of their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Lilly Endowment Inc. supports community development, education, youth, and religion.