2022 Dearborn Co. Lilly Scholarship Winner, DCF Scholarship Recipients Announced

Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 1:27 PM

By Dearborn Community Foundation, news release

Congratulations to South Dearborn High School senior Rylee Thies for winning the full tuition Lilly Scholarship.

Rylee Thies. Photo provided.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - South Dearborn High School senior Rylee Thies learned today that she is the 2022 recipient of the Dearborn County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship (LECS).

Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars may also participate in the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN), which connects scholars with resources and opportunities to be active leaders on their campuses and in their communities. Both the scholarship program and the LSN are supported by grants from Lilly Endowment to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI).

“Rylee epitomizes what the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship is all about: community involvement, academic achievement, character and leadership,” said Fred McCarter, Executive Director of DCF. “She was selected from among a competitive group of applicants for this high honor and our community should be very proud of Rylee and the other five finalists.”

Thies of Aurora, is the daughter of Angela DeSalvo and Robert Thies Jr. She plans to study Nursing with a specialty in the neonatal field. She is undecided on what college or university she will attend. At South Dearborn, Thies has been active in many clubs and groups, including: National Honor Society; Student Government; Business Professionals of America (state qualifier, placed 16th at Nationals); Gardening Club; Drama Workshop; and STAR Mentors. She also participated in basketball and volleyball. Thies also volunteered: Salvation Army; Dearborn County Clearing House for Emergency Aid, Inc.; South Dearborn Dollars for Scholars; Ohio River Sweep; Moores Hill Alumni Dinner; and in nursing homes as a part of Bunny Towel Gifts. She even found time to work during school and in the summer.

DCF administers the LECS Program in Dearborn County. A five-member scholarship committee and the DCF staff annually review each application during Phase I of the scholarship process. During Phase I, committee members assign scores to each blinded application based on an essay written to address a specific question. DCF assigns additional scores based on financial need, cumulative academic scores, and number of family dependents.

Based on the highest total scores during Phase I of the process, six Lilly finalists are selected to move on to Phase II of the selection process. In October, the finalists complete Phase II, which consists of a personal interview, including a PowerPoint presentation to the scholarship committee and writing an impromptu essay on a specific topic.

The scholarship committee then submits the top-scoring applicants to the DCF Board for approval before sending the nominations to the statewide administrator for LECS, Independent Colleges of Indiana, for the selection of scholarship recipients.

Lilly Endowment Inc. created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-1999 school year and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling more than $439 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception. The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.


Arynn Kunkel (SD), Michelle Batta (EC), Emma Dunn (LHS), Katie Engel (EC), and Esther Owen (LHS). Photos provided.

The five remaining LECS finalists are recognized as 2022 Dearborn Community Foundation Scholarship recipients. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship paid directly to the student’s school. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years of secondary education at the college or university of the student’s choice. The Foundation is pleased to award the 2022 DCF scholarships to: Michelle Batta, East Central High School; Katie Engel, East Central High School; Emma Dunn, Lawrenceburg High School; Arynn Kunkel, South Dearborn High School; and Esther Owen, Lawrenceburg High School.

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