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Center Grove, Greenwood students receive Lilly scholarships

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Two local families won’t have to worry about the cost of tuition and books when they send their children off to college in a few months.

The Johnson County Community Foundation awarded two Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships to Mariah Smith, a senior at Center Grove High School, and Sam Hicks, a senior at Greenwood Community High School. The scholarships, which are awarded to two local students per year, pay for all tuition at an Indiana college of the student’s choice with a $900 annual stipend for books and class equipment.

The scholarships mean Hicks and Smith will have to pay for only room and board for four years at Purdue University and likely will graduate without student loans.

The scholarship allows Smith to do more in college, such as study abroad, and graduate debt-free, she said. Her parents are still paying on her older sister’s student loans, so the scholarship is a big help, she said. She can now save any money she earns while in college for the future, she said.

“It gives me a head start to not have debt,” she said.

Hicks’ college education won’t be a financial burden to his family now, and he likely will be able to pay for room and board with income he earns from internships and other jobs, he said. In the future, he won’t be paying student loans on top of house and car payments after college, he said.

The Johnson County Community Foundation has presented the award for 17 years and chooses winners based on their volunteer community involvement, academics, leadership and character. The two winners were selected out of about 70 applicants.

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