Braden Rogers named 2024 LaGrange County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Recipient

Presenting the award to Braden is Executive Director Octavia Yoder, along with Braden’s parents, Jeremiah and Elizabeth Rogers of LaGrange.

Braden Rogers of Westview Jr. Sr. High School was named the recipient of the 2024 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for LaGrange County.

Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are known for their community involvement, academic achievement, charitable, and leadership.

Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years.

The scholarship is for full-time undergraduate students leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Rogers will graduate high school with academic honors and intends to pursue a five-year degree in landscape architecture at Purdue University or Ball State University. He is the son of Jeremiah and Elizabeth Rogers of LaGrange.

In his application essay, Rogers wrote: “Traveling to beautiful places around our country, I have always been drawn to landscape.  I’ve always been the guy who notices a nicely manicured golf course or the detail of an intricately designed walkway. It wasn’t until I began looking into possible career paths that I realized I could one day bring happiness and peace to others through landscape architecture. My long-term goals are to run my own architectural firm and raise a strong and active family within a great community.”

Laurie Sherck, the Foundation’s Scholarship Coordinator, Octavia Yoder, Executive Director and Leanna Martin, LIFE coordinator and LCCF Program Director, talk with Braden and his parents about what this scholarship means to him.

Rogers’ school involvement includes being part of student government as class vice president his junior year, being a Student Council member and serving on the Prom Committee.  Rogers is the goalkeeper for the Westview Boys Soccer Team and participates in school musicals. He most recently held the lead role in the musical, “Grease” and participates in show choir, jazz band, weightlifting and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Rogers also has a love of skiing. He founded the Westview Ski Club and is involved in SOLO (Special Outdoor Leisure Opportunities).  SOLO provides opportunities for people with physical and mental limitations to experience downhill skiing with a friend or instructor. The group meets every Monday during the winter months and skis for two hours.

Roger participates in LIFE, a youth philanthropic program of the LaGrange County Community Foundation. He is a guitarist for the St. Joseph Church and participates in New Life Fellowship youth worship group. 

“I strongly believe that if a talent is given, you should seek ways to use that gift in positive ways,” Rogers shared.  Additionally, Braden manages to have time to work part-time jobs in the winter months and a full-time job during the summer.

In determining LaGrange County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholar nominees, consideration was given to academic achievement, demonstrated service to others, leadership ability, commitment and motivation to succeed, employment history, extracurricular involvement, essay responses, as well as two recommendations.

“Braden demonstrates many of the qualities we seek in a leader: motivated, hardworking, and engaged in his school and community. The selection committee was impressed by his service to his community and passion for his career goals,” said Octavia Yoder, Executive Director of the LaGrange County Community Foundation.

The top five students who scored highest on their application were then invited to participate in a personal interview conducted by the Lilly Scholarship Advisory Committee.  After the field of applicants was narrowed, nominees were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, which approves the final selection of scholarship recipients.

Finalists for the 2024 include: Taylor Jerdon and Xia Leu of Lakeland Jr/Sr School; Christien Noward and Jace Lang of Westview JR-SR High School. Each of the finalists will receive the Lambright Leadership Scholarship, a $1,000 renewable scholarship established by Kevin and Carrie Lambright in 2013.  The scholarship may be renewed up to three more years after the initial award, for a total scholarship of $4,000.

The Foundation is honored to nominate a LaGrange County student for this prestigious award,” Yoder added. “We are grateful Lilly Endowment continues to support future leaders and makes dreams possible for our young students.  Selecting a nominee is a difficult process based on many factors. The committee was impressed by the exceptional scholars in our community.”

Lilly Endowment created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-99 school year and has supported the program every year since with grants totaling more than $505 million. The LaGrange County Community Foundation has awarded the scholarship to 42 LaGrange County students since the program’s inception.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.