Browns and Lippelt

Starke County


Nicholas Sierzputowski Receives Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship

Nicholas Sierzputowski

A North Judson-San Pierre High School student has been named theStarke County Community Foundation 2016 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar.

Nicholas Sierzputowski will receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to an Indiana college of his choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

Nicholas is the son of Steven and Kathleen Sierzputowski and plans to pursue a degree in chemistry. He is a four year member of Academic Decathlon, Academic Super Bowl, three year member of Science Olympiad and Academic Spell Bowl, and Spanish club. A member of the National Honor Society, Nicholas is also on the Blue Jay tennis team.

Nicholas was selected for the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship from a field of fifteen applicants by the Starke County Community Foundation Scholarship Committee.

During the selection process, the applications are scored on academic performance, volunteer and paid work, school activities and honors, as well as a series of essays. Of the fifteen applicants, five finalists were selected for a final interview. These finalists were asked to write an impromptu essay and had a personal interview with the Scholarship Committee. The Committee narrowed the field to one nominee as their recommendation. Finalists’ applications are submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for the final selection of the recipient.

ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents thirty-one regionally-accredited, degree-granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree. There were 142 scholarships awarded statewide.

The students who were finalists and interviewed for the scholarship were Ashley Eichelberger, a senior at North Judson-San Pierre High School; Hannah Clark of Oregon-Davis High School; Bailee Cook who lives in Starke County and attends John Glenn High School, and Cody Valiquet who is a senior at Culver Community High School.

Starke County Community Foundation Preschool Scholarships
Application available for download

Download the application

Starke County Preschool app

Starke County Preschool app

The NICF is in the third year of a partnership with local preschools, schools and other organizations,to offer preschool scholarships for the children of Fulton, Miami and Starke Counties.

The goal of the program is to make one year of preschool education affordable to every child in our counties. Need-based scholarships are available to families of four-year-old children.

Many people underestimate the importance of preschool education. The expectations of what a child entering kindergarten should know have risen dramatically in recent years and local children who arrive for kindergarten unprepared often have difficulty catching up to their peers.

Eighty-five percent of a child’s brain growth happens by the age of five, and children who attend preschool are more likely to read at grade level, graduate from high school, and continue on to secondary education.

Rigorous studies have shown that for every dollar invested in early childhood education programs for low-income children, between $4 and $9 is returned to the community.

These financial returns come in the form of reduced special education costs, less grade repetition in schools, better job preparedness and a greater ability to meet future labor force demands, higher incomes due to higher educational attainment, fewer welfare payments, and lower criminal casualties and prison costs.

“It’s clear that investing in early childhood education leads to long-term community benefits that would be unwise to ignore,” says NICF Executive Director Jay Albright.

For more information about the scholarship program, contact To contribute, visit the Giving Connection to invest in the Preschool Scholarship Program for Starke County children.