Morristown salutatorian earned full ride to Marian

The Morristown High School salutatorian was “kicked out” of Starbucks four times while writing a paper for her college-level English course.

Lillian Thompson started writing her English essays at Starbucks her senior year because it helped her focus better. Most of the time, she would drink a chai tea latte with almond milk.

She felt like essays she wrote at Starbucks received better grades than essays she wrote somewhere else. So she often stayed until the restaurant closed at 10 p.m., resulting in the employees asking her to go home for the night.

And this happened four times while she was working on her “second major paper” of the spring semester.

The essay focused on how people should respond to marginalized groups in society, a topic Thompson said she really cared about.

“It was a challenge for me to express something that I care about, and to back it up with all the evidence, and to do it justice, and say what I believed,” she said.

Thompson received an “A” on the paper.

She said she cared so much about how to treat marginalized groups because her whole outlook on life is to help create a better world and treat people with compassion.

“It really bothers me to see people treated so poorly,” she said.

This passion for helping people played a big factor in her career choice.

“I’ve always known I wanted to do a helping profession,” she said.

Thompson’s English course was dual credit through Indiana University, but she’s transferring the credits to Marian University, where she plans to major in Biology. Her end goal is to become a physician and attend Medical Missions – going overseas to provide health care and treatment to countries that don’t have access.

Why she chose biology and to go to Marian both came from when she attended “Camp Cardiac” for a week during summer 2017. It was the first time she visited Marian.

“After that, it was just like a switch was flipped and I knew that was what I wanted to do,” she said.

There were some other factors in her choosing Marian too, she said.

“It’s right in the middle of (Indianapolis), and I love that about it, but it’s also kind of secluded, which is cool,” she said. “It’s kind of like, in its own little pocket, but it’s still five minutes from downtown.”

She also likes the small-town feel Marian has to offer.

“Everyone there, from the staff all the way down to the students, is really genuine about caring for the students and the newcomers,” she said. “You just feel that every time you are there, and that is probably my favorite thing about it.”

But the academic full ride Marian offered her was the number one factor, she said.

Thompson “competed” for the Saint Mary’s Academic Scholarship by spending a day at Marian, turning in her resume and going through an interview process with faculty members.

“I was so nervous,” she said. “My hands were shaky, and sweaty, an