Full ride ahead for seniors

SHS students receive prestigious award and full ride to college


Madelyn Knight

Senior Mikayla Whittemore hugs her grandmother soon after she discovered she was awarded with a full ride scholarship to Butler. Whittemore plans to major in Political Science.

Lyndsay Valadez, Reporter

Growing up without her parents and their encouragement, senior Mikayla Whittemore was the only one able to keep herself accountable for her success. Although she lives with her grandparents, she has never felt the parent-daughter connection with them. She thinks that most of her independence developed through this and that is partly what made her stand out from other applicants when she received a full ride scholarship to Butler University.

“If I wanted to get something done, it wasn’t because (her parents) wanted me to get good grades,” Whittemore said. “It was because I wanted to.”

Whittemore is not the only SHS student who has recently been notified that they have received a full ride scholarship to college. Senior Kaleb Wood has earned the Lilly Award. According to Wood, the Lilly Award covers all costs, except for books for any accepting college in Indiana. He had decided to enroll at Wabash College. He hopes to earn other scholarships to help cover the cost of books. Both say their background and personality helped them to get this weight of paying for college off of their shoulders.

The weight of wondering whether or not he would be even be considered was lifted when he got the chance to be with the other top 15 applicants chosen. Of those, he was one of the three picked to actually receive the scholarships. He says that even when going through interviews for the Lilly scholarship, he tried to be as open and as honest as possible. He feels that he has always worked hard in school, as he takes his education seriously, and it has finally paid off.

“If you want to do something, then do it,” Wood said, “And do  it wholeheartedly.”

Similarly, Whittemore has found herself wanting to thoroughly deepen her education, especially in upcoming years. Whittemore believes Butler to be the best place to better her education. For Whittemore, the smaller school of just over 4,000 undergraduate students will make it easier to stay on track. Without true parental guidance, though, she feels like she has had to be the one to push herself. As she says she has fallen off track in the past, she is getting back on it through her own motivation.

Her and Wood’s guidance counselor, Briana Underwood, agrees that they both have a unique character  and “obviously their background” that make them stand out. She thinks having the chance to be interviewed also gave them a better chance to show the real them in person rather than only on paper.

“I do believe in the two scholarships that they were both awarded,” Underwood said. “It’s more the activities they were involved in outside of the academics as well as their personality.”

Underwood believes that all students should always apply to as many scholarships as possible, because there are so many and students never know what could happen.