Senior Patrick Gouker is one of the many exceptional students at Mishawaka High School (MHS). This year Gouker was awarded one of four highly esteemed Lilly Endowment Community Scholarships that were awarded in St. Joseph County.
The recipients were notified in early to mid-December. “My first reaction was to keep reading because I almost expected it to read ‘Congratulations on making it to the interview round, but we have decided to go another way.’ After I realized that I had truly received the scholarship, I screamed and couldn’t stop shaking,” said Gouker, “My mom was with me when I opened the letter. She screamed and cried.”
For Gouker, this scholarship was life-changing. “It’s probably cliché to say this, but it means everything to me. This scholarship provides me the opportunity to study at a university of good repute, an opportunity I would not have been able to afford otherwise,” he said. Photo Credit: twitter @SCMMHSCavemen
Gouker has been accepted into Notre Dame University and plans to pursue a double major in mathematics and theology. He would also like to undertake a minor in another subject. While at Notre Dame, Gouker plans to get involved in Campus Ministry, Right to Life, and French Club. “I will hopefully be involved with volunteer work and research with my fellow students that takes place both in the United States and all throughout the world. I will certainly be involved with all of the activities that my residence hall puts on as these are the heart and soul of student life at Notre Dame,” said Gouker.
Notre Dame’s buzzing student life was a major factor in Gouker’s decision. “I was greatly attracted to Notre Dame because of its student body. The students at Notre Dame are focused a something greater than themselves. They seek to apply their academic knowledge through research to help people all throughout the world,” said Gouker.
Gouker plans to make the most of his time before college. “As I wrap of my senior year, I am planning on enjoying this last summer before college. I want to spend time with my friends who will be going all over the country to start the next chapter in their lives. I also plan catching up on books I’ve been meaning to read, and spending time out on Notre Dame’s beautiful campus so that I can better familiarize myself with it,” said Gouker.
According to lillyendowment.org, “The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program is designed to raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana and increase awareness of the potential of Indiana's community foundations to improve the quality of life of the state's residents. Begun in 1998, the program offers four-year, full-tuition scholarships to Indiana students who intend to work toward a baccalaureate degree at any accredited public or private college or university in Indiana. The scholarship also provides $900 per year for required books and equipment.”
The selection process for the Lilly Endowment Scholarship is extensive and highly competitive. This year, 11 students were interviewed for the four scholarships available.
The initial application collects general information such as demographics, work experience, and leadership positions. Applicants are also required to respond to two of the four prompts provided in 300 words or less.
Next, the applications are reviewed by a selection committee. This committee narrows the applications. The committee then conducts interviews with the remaining applicants. The recipients are chosen the same day and the decisions are sent to be reviewed. This year, 11 students were interviewed for the four scholarships available.
For more information on the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, visit lillyendowment.org.