And the Award Goes To…


Chrislyn Marrs has always had a love for art. 

The West Vigo senior’s talents in drawing even lead to her art being showcased in Washington D.C.

So when it came time for applying to colleges she had a pretty good idea of what she wanted to do, but wasn’t sure how to pay for it. 

So at the recommendation of her councilor Marrs applied for the Lilly Endowment Scholarship. 

After months of waiting, a missed call and a lost package, Marrs thought her shot at the award was over. 

“I was like for sure I didn’t get it because I had heard other applicants receiving it and was like dang it,” Chrislyn Marrs said.  

Then one day Marrs was called into the guidance counselor’s office and received the surprise of her life. 

“She was just like bluntly said, the lilly that you got,” Marrs said. “And I was like the lilly that i got. She’s like the lilly that you got. And I was like are you serious? I was just like overjoyed.” 

Marrs was just one of 426 Wabash Valley high school seniors vying for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship administered by the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. 

The scholarship gives students the opportunity to continue their education after high school by receiving a four-year full tuition paid scholarship. 

Four students were chosen out of a total of 426 applications from students in Clay, Sullivan and Vigo counties. 

Josey McKinley is the award winner from Sullivan and learned her fate answering her door. 

“The board member came in , and he was like, you filled out your application, you did the interview and i’m excited to tell you received it,” Josey McKinley said. “And I was just filled with joy.” 

The award gives McKinley the chance to pick the best school for her, without worrying about cost. 

“It really gives her more opportunities,” Jennifer McKinley said.  

“Yeah it really opened some doors,” Josey McKinley said.  

“Now that we know it is paid for it gives her more opportunities to pursue colleges we never thought were an option,” Jennifer McKinley said. 

And for high schoolers looking for scholarships McKinley advice is, try. 

“Always apply,” Josey McKinley said. “You never know what will happen or how situations will change. Most definitely always apply.”

So what’s the next step for the teens? 
They are both undecided on what college they will attend in the fall, but have planned several college visits in the months to come. 

We wish them all the best.

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