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Waldron senior awarded Lilly Endowment scholarship

Madeline Robinson’s jaw just about hit the floor when she walked into a room full of representatives from Blue River Community Foundation on Thursday morning.

Happy tears soon followed.

Told to go to the front office to grab some papers at the copier, the Waldron High School senior walked in thinking nothing of the request. But she immediately knew what the real reason was when she walked in.

“I usually tell you what you receive but obviously you know,” Julie Alvis, BRCF youth and education program officer, said as tears streamed down Robinson’s face.

Robinson, who ranked second in her class at the time she applied with a 3.92 grade point average, was the recipient of the 2020 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in Shelby County. The scholarship will pay her full tuition at Marian University in Indianapolis, plus an annual $900 stipend for required books and equipment.

It was the second year in a row that a Waldron student won the scholarship. Last year, Stewart Douglas, Waldron’s valedictorian, also won.

She was one of eight finalists, a larger number than previous years, Alvis said, because of the quality of candidates.

Shelbyville seniors Alexandra Carter, Catherine (McKenna) Hall, Reid Schene, Joshua von Werder and Landon Watson, Triton Central’s Brooke Haney and Southwestern’s Karmen Kissell were the others candidates. Those seven will receive a four-year renewable scholarship from one of Blue River’s 90 funds.

Up until Thursday morning, it had been an anxiety-filled week for Robinson, knowing the foundation’s scholarship committee would make its decision by Dec. 8.

“It’s just a huge relief,” she said later. “I’ve been waiting for a really long time for this. The Lilly (scholarship) has been something I’ve been striving for, so it’s a huge relief.”

As a child, Robinson helped take care of her grandfather when he came home from work by putting a washcloth on the back of his neck, or giving him a drink. She also put lotion on her relatives’ hands.

It’s her desire to help people that has driven Robinson to pursue a career in nursing.

She knew before entering high school that was what she wanted to do.

Her freshman year, she approached school counselor Whitney Moore about taking three years of courses in the Health Science department at Blue River Career Programs instead of the normal two.

She took the introductory course as a sophomore and the Certified Nursing Assistant course last year. The original plan was to take an Emergency Medical Services course as a senior but after being able to watch EMS employees first-hand through the program, she decided EMS was not the path she wanted to take.

She’s now doing an internship in Rushville and will focus on the oncology department next semester.

Along with being heavily involved at school as president of both Student Council and Sunshine Society, vice president of National Honor Society, participating in Health Occupation Students of America and athletics, she volunteers at Waldron United Methodist Church, Shelby Senior Services and at school.

And she works as a certified nursing assistant at Especially Kidz in Shelbyville, which she said is one of the happiest times for her.

“I just love my kids so much,” she said.

Alvis said she is an excellent student who is active in her community and at school. But what really stood out to her and the committee was her passion for helping others.

“We often talk about, the students when they interview, we talk about goosebumps and who during the interview do you feel goosebumps?” she said. “It was Maddie.”

Robinson was joined by her sister, Lilya, when she called her parents, Rebecca and Heath Robinson, to deliver the good news.

“I’m just super excited,” she said later. “I’m excited to go to college and get to be a nurse. I’m ready to take my next step. I’m ready to go to bigger and better things. I love where I’m at, I do, but I see all these nurses doing incredible things and I’m ready to start.”

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