Clarksville High School Senior Alyssa Leezer broke down in tears upon learning she had been selected to receive the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, administered locally by the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana (CFSI).
This year for the first time, CFSI decided to surprise Lilly Scholarship winners at their schools instead of delivering the big news in an e-mail. The big reveal on December 7, 2022 took a bit of planning. Since Alyssa is a member of the girls’ basketball team, CHS administrators arranged to have Ms. Carmichael call the team members together outside the gym for a meeting. Alyssa led the team as they entered and broke down in tears upon seeing a sign that read “Congrats on your Lilly Scholarship.” Alyssa immediately went to hug her mother, before walking toward the giant check with her name on it at the other end of the gym. “It was literally just so much emotion,” recalls Leezer. “I just wanted to sit there and take in the moment because I was so excited.”
The Community Foundation of Southern Indiana awards just four Lilly Scholarships each year to graduating seniors. Two of the recipients live in Clark County and two in Floyd County. A total of 147 Lilly Scholarships are awarded statewide.“Part of me was so caught up in the (prestige) of it that I forgot- it really does take such a financial relief off of me and my family,” says Leezer.
The prestigious Lilly Scholarship covers full tuition at any public or private college in Indiana, plus an allocation of up to $900 per year to cover books and other materials.
Leezer is keeping her options open when it comes to college. She says IU Bloomington is definitely in the running. Leezer hopes to foster her love of basketball in college by studying sports management. She’s considering getting a Master’s in Sports Analytics degree and becoming a sports data analyst.
“I would like to send congratulations to all of the finalists, as well as a special thank you to Lilly Endowment Inc., which has been incredibly supportive of our foundation and this community,” said Linda Speed, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Because of the generosity of this scholarship program, we are able to award these life-changing scholarships to deserving applicants in Clark and Floyd counties, who will go on to pursue their education and achieve their goals.”
Each Lilly Scholarship recipient goes through a highly competitive application and interview process. This year, CSFI selected a dozen semi-finalists from 156 applications.Leezer has an impressive GPA and also shines in extra-curricular activities. This is her second year as captain of the varsity girls’ basketball team. Leezer is also a Senior Class Officer, a member of the Key Club and part of National Honor Society.
She says Clarksville’s small school community has helped contribute to her success- especially the support she’s received from school administration, the high school counselors and her coach. “I think from every single staff member I’ve heard congratulations. I’ve had people e-mailing me if they don’t see me in person.
Everyone in the hallways has been cheering me on and posting pictures of me,” Leezer gushes. “I just love making everyone proud.”
This is the second year in a row Clarksville Community Schools has celebrated a student winning the Lilly Scholarship. In 2021, CHS students were awarded both of the Clark County scholarships.