Wawasee seniors named for Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship

Samantha Kolberg, a student at Wawasee High School, (C) stands with her parents, Heidi and Eric Kolberg, above, as Samantha is congratulated for being a 2021 Lilly Scholar. Photo Provided.

Each year, Kosciusko County recommends two students to receive the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship award, a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the Indiana college or university of their choice. Kosciusko County Community Foundation Inc. announced the Lilly Endowment Community Scholars for 2021 are Samantha Kolberg and Nyla White.

Kolberg is a senior at Wawasee High School. She is the daughter of Heidi and Eric Kolberg. At the time of application, Kolberg had a GPA of 12.17 and was ranked second in her graduating class. Samantha has participated in student council, Varsity soccer, National Honors Society, Wawasee High School’s theatre department, peer tutoring, Milford Christian Church Worship Team, youth group, freshman women’s basketball, Community Food Drive, Wawasee High School Pow Wow and has volunteered with the Milford Public Library, the 2020 election voting process, Parents’ Night at Wawaasee High School, Milford Food Bank, Foster Care Support, Relay for Life, the Wawasee High School Blood Drive and a youth soccer program where she served as the head coach, according to a news release from KCCF. She also spends much of her time volunteering for Jo Jo’s Crafts, a project she started as a fourth-grader that has since raised approximately $6,000 for various children’s charities. She has worked at the Milford Public Library and is currently employed as a laborer at Eric and Daughter’s Garden Tilling LLC. Upon graduation from high school, Samantha plans to enroll at Valparaiso University to major in accounting and education to become a teacher. Kolberg is described as a hardworking and honest person who will use her education to better her community.

Nyla White, (C), is flanked by her parents Neil and Crystal White as they hear their Wawasee High School student is a 2021 Lilly Scholar. Photo Provided.

White is a senior at Wawasee High School. She is the daughter of Neil and Crystal White. An active member of her school and community, she has participated in Kosciusko Endowment Youth Services, Midwest USA Para Cheer Team, Kosciusko Teen Court, Give Hope, Academic Super Bowl, Wawasee High School cheerleading, Wawasee High School’s theatre department, Unified track and field, student council, National Honor Society, pageant competitions and has volunteered with Teen Parents Succeeding, Relay for Life, Syracuse Preschool, Wawasee High School Blood Drive, North Webster American Legion, a pet food and toy drive, Wawasee Pow Wow and Wawasee open house. Throughout her extracurricular activities, Nyla has held many leadership roles. She was the founder of Give Hope, a program that raised $12,000 to bring Jen Bricker, a gymnast born without legs, to speak at Wawasee High School. White, who is a double amputee, also travels as an inspirational speaker. Upon graduation from high school, White plans to attend either the University of Notre Dame or Indiana University to study political science and pursue a future career as a prosecutor and politician. White is described as a determined, passionate, uplifting and caring student who pours into everyone around her.

The selection process for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship begins at the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, where committee members review the applications without access to student names. The criteria evaluated by the committee members includes academic excellence, community service, extracurricular involvement, work experience, references and essay response. Once the committee has made their selections, the Community Foundation submits their nominees to Independent College of Indiana (ICI), the statewide administrators of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, for final selection of the recipients, according to the release.

Annually since 1998, Lilly Endowment 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 supports community development, education and youth and religion.