Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Recipients

December 11, 2020 / 5 mins read

Contact: Julie Garber

For Immediate Release

Date: December 11, 2020

Community Foundation Names Emma Brainard 2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Recipient

Northfield High School senior Emma Brainard was selected by the Community Foundation from a field of 30 Wabash County applicants to receive the four-year, full-tuition Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for 2021. The scholarship recognizes a Wabash County student who ranks high on eleven criteria, including academic achievement measures, financial need, volunteerism and work ethic, school participation and leadership, essays, and an interview. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist the next generation of leadership in Indiana to obtain a college degree, raising the educational attainment level of indiana’s citizens.

Emma is the daughter of Stephenie and Kevin Brainard of rural Wabash County. She is active in student government, Key Club, volunteer activities, and cheerleading. She has worked in the trenches of the family excavating business and is currently working for B. Walter in a marketing internship. She plans to attend an Indiana college to study business and will be the first in her immediate family to achieve a bachelor’s degree.

After college, Emma has ambitions to live and work in a small town like the one she comes from. “After attending college for marketing and International Business Management, I would love to go back into small towns, much like Wabash, and help build up their economy and small businesses. I feel that after getting proper education and experience in the business field, I could market for many small town businesses and help them grow and flourish.”

Emma’s focus, however, has also been global. As a deeply involved member of Key Club, the high school version of Kiwanis, Emma has already demonstrated leadership skills on the local, national, and international levels. ”My Key Club journey has led me to the positions of International Trustee and International Growth Secretary. As International Trustee, I oversee three districts and make sure that each of them has the proper resources, information, and support to serve their homes, schools, and communities. Alongside International Trustee, I also serve as Key Club’s International Growth Secretary, relating to Key Club districts such as Nepal, Taiwan, Philippines, France, Western Canada, Japan, Columbia, and New Zealand.

Heidi Polizotto, Key Club’s Indiana District adult board member has observed Emma’s growth in Key Club over several years. “When I began to work with Emma on the District Board, there were so many students to get to know, but Emma stood out. I could tell she was a real go-getter, so organized, and so focused. I have never seen a student excel as Emma has in the last two years. She went from Lieutenant Governor as a sophomore (which is a difficult position to win at such a young age) to Governor, overseeing all Key Clubs in Indiana, then on to winning International Trustee, which oversees hundreds of Key Clubs from several states!”

Dreaming big, Emma hopes to combine her professional and volunteer interests: “After continuing my education, my dream job would be to handle the marketing and/or management of an International non-for-profit, much like Kiwanis. This future plan would be taking my two current favorite actives (internship and Key Club International) and merging them into a real career. I feel this end goal aligns with my personal passion, to better this world through service.”

Many Northfield High School students will know Emma for her leadership in the Wabash County Dress Drive. Emma said, “Although I've won several awards and honors in my life, I feel an achievement I am even more proud of is the Wabash County Dress Drive. The drive was started four years ago, and has continued to evolve each year. It's a weekend long "boutique" set up by the Northfield Student Council to market used prom/semi-formal dresses from girls who are looking to donate or sell dresses on consignment. Girls in need of good formal wear can purchase these dresses at a low price. This event allows all girls, no matter their financial circumstances, an equal opportunity to attend a dance and feel beautiful in their dress.”

Perhaps her Northfield guidance counselor, Nicole Michel, says it best. “Emma has secured a position as a marketing intern for a local metal and fabrication company, where she works on all of their marketing and advertising. She could be trusted to perform her job at the highest level and attend school and remain a dedicated student at the top of her class. One of the most striking characteristics that Emma possesses is her humble attitude. I have never heard or seen her brag about her accomplishments. She is incredibly polite and respectful to her peers, staff, coaches, and administration. I have no doubt that she is going to do great things with her life.

The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, begun in 1998, has awarded full-tuition scholarships to nearly 5,000 students, representing over $379 million in scholarship tuition. The primary purposes of LEC 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 through the state.

The Community Foundation of Wabash County administers the LECS application and selection process for Wabash County students. Since 1998, forty Wabash County students have received the LEC scholarship. The prestigious program is an important aspect of Wabash County’s drive to increase the educational attainment level of citizens and prepare generations for the 21st century workforce.

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