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Grant helps high school seniors earn tuition, fulfill dreams

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Two Johnson County high school seniors have received scholarships that will cover all of the cost of their college tuition, plus books and lab fees, through the spring of 2017.

Hollis VanFossen, a senior at Center Grove High School, and Trent Tatlock, a senior at Edinburgh Community High School, were both named Lilly

Endowment Community Scholars by the Johnson County Community Foundation.

About 60 county students applied for the scholarships. A nine-member committee selected the finalists, and the nonprofit corporation Independent Colleges of Indiana selected the winners, according to the Johnson County Community Foundation.

VanFossen and Tatlock were chosen based on their character, academic accomplishments and community service, the news release said.

The VanFossen file

Name: Hollis VanFossen

Parents: Mark and Brenda VanFossen

School: Center Grove High School

Grade: Senior

College: Anderson University

Major: Nursing

The Tatlock file

Name: Trent Tatlock

Parents: Todd and Julie Tatlock

School: Edinburgh Community High School

Grade: Senior

College: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Major: Chemical engineering

The scholarships provide four years of tuition at any public or private Indiana college.

Hollis VanFossen

After growing up in a family of nurses, Hollis VanFossen vowed early she was going to find a different career.

She has been involved in student government since fourth grade and planned to major in business in college. But that was before she had a chance to see first-hand how nurses spend their days and before she dissected her first cow’s eye.

About two years ago, VanFossen was visiting a patient at a local hospital. She started to notice everything that was included in a nurse’s job. Along with the medical skills, they were also expected to be compassionate and be good listeners.

VanFossen wants a career that gives her the chance to serve others, and seeing the nurses working in that hospital was enough to prompt her to take Center Grove High School’s anatomy and physiology courses.

In the courses, students dissect a cow’s eye and heart and, eventually, a cat. VanFossen wasn’t sure how well she’d make it through the courses when she signed up because of the difficult content but quickly found she loved it.

“What I thought would be my least favorite classes wound up being my favorite classes all throughout high school,” she said.

VanFossen applied to both Ball State University and Anderson University. Attending a Christian college was as important to VanFossen as finding a college with a strong nursing program, and as soon as she visited Anderson University she knew that’s where she wanted to be.

Anderson awarded VanFossen an academic scholarship, but that wasn’t enough to cover the full cost of tuition, which at Anderson is more than $13,000 per semester.

VanFossen needed to find a way to pay for much of her college herself, and she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to afford Anderson.

Now the Lilly Endowment scholarship, along with the academic scholarship from Anderson, should cover the cost of tuition as well as on-campus housing.

“(The Lilly Endowment) made what was my dream school before, and what seemed like a dream, a reality,” she said.

Trent Tatlock

Trent Tatlock is trying to decide between careers diagnosing illnesses and treating patients or working with different chemical compounds.

A career in medicine would mean working with chemistry on a regular basis while also dealing with people. And working in chemical engineering would mean spending virtually all of his workday immersed in chemistry, his favorite subject.

Tatlock first narrowed his college choices to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Franklin College or Marian University. Marian is about an hour from home, and Rose-Hulman is farther; but Franklin College would be a roughly 15-minute drive.

A three-sport athlete at Edinburgh, he also was trying to decide whether he would play football, basketball or baseball in college.

When the dust settled this week, he had made up his mind. He’ll attend Rose-Hulman and play football for the Engineers.

Tatlock said he has known for years that he wanted to base his career on chemistry. He appreciates that chemistry problems often have a single correct answer, and he’s fascinated seeing how chemistry works within the world.

“It gives the world a different perspective. You can see the world differently around you. It opens your eyes,” he said.

He was unsure that he could have afforded college, especially a private school, without the Lilly Endowment scholarship. He most likely would have needed loans to cover the cost of tuition, which would have been $25,000 to $40,000 per year.

His parents would have helped with the cost, but Tatlock has three younger sisters who will need money for college as well.

Tatlock also wants to attend graduate school, and that might not have been possible without the scholarship because of the debt he already would have built up earning his bachelor’s degree, he said.

“I might have shied away from (graduate school knowing) I’d have thousands of dollars to pay off,” he said.

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