CHURUBUSCO — Out of 39 applicants participating in the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship selection process, Chandler Brown, a senior at Churubusco Junior-Senior High School, was awarded the honor.Chandler is the son of Doug and Larisa Brown, and the older brother of Seth.
As the endowment’s recipient, Chandler receives full tuition to the Indiana college of his choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.His college of choice — Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute.
“It was between Rose-Hulman and Purdue,” Chandler said. “I’d been to both. Rose-Hulman just seemed a bit smaller and more intimate. I really liked the faculty and programs it offered.”
Chandler plans to study chemical engineering and hopes to some day work in renewable energy.
“I want to make a difference,” he said. “I want to know that I had a lasting impact.”
The news was delivered to Chandler by way of a surprise announcement at Smith-Green Community Schools’ administration building.
“I was told that the administration wanted to hear New Era (CHS’s show choir) sing. I didn’t think anything of it,” Chandler said. “When we walked into the room, I saw my family and friends. It hit me then what was going on, and I was speechless.”
For weeks Chandler had been watching the mail for a letter to notify him of the scholarship’s recipient.
“The letter came last Saturday,” he said. “The only day my parents got the mail before me was the day the letter came.”
Leaving the nest
Deciding on Rose-Hulman means Chandler will be more than three hours away from home. After attending a small-town high school for four years, adapting to a college environment and living away from home might prove challenging to a college freshman. However, Chandler is not wavering in his decision.
“I have been away from home before and I did OK,” he said.
Larisa is choosing to look on the positive side of her oldest son moving out.
“He had his schools narrowed down to Purdue or Rose-Hulman, so he was going to be too far away no matter what,” she said. “We have close friends in Terre Haute. I feel good knowing people who care about him are just minutes away.”
In preparing for the interview portion of the endowment’s selection process, Chandler said his parents did all they could to make him feel at ease.
“They are always supportive of whatever I do,” Chandler said. “They really help make things happen for me. My dad pulled people together that he knows to act as a mock interview panel. Practicing in front of them helped me get ready for the real deal.”
For a parent, knowing your child is going to attend college is cause for a sigh of relief, but knowing that student loans and financial pressures will not be a factor is an element Doug is all to grateful to embrace.
“This scholarship will make an incredible difference in the start of Chandler’s adult life,” Doug said. “He absolutely loved Rose-Hulman, but as much as he wanted to go there, he was still unsure. Rose-Hulman is a very expensive school and while they offered scholarships, the remaining debt still would have been crushing.”
Larisa is eager to tout her son’s accomplishment. “I’m the proudest mother in the world,” she said. ”I’m constantly amazed by the things he accomplishes and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
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