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Scholarship awarded to student, alumna duo

| Thursday, November 20, 2014

NewsPhoto courtesy of Gwen O'Brien
In its 25th year, the Realizing the Dream Program awarded Saint Mary’s student, sophomore Maranda Pennington, with a $2,500 scholarships, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

The Realizing the Dream Program seeks out first-generation college students enrolled in an institution of Independent Colleges of Indiana and acknowledges overall outstanding achievement in a student’s freshman year. Pennington was nominated by Saint Mary’s and received the award November 1st at the Realizing the Dream banquet in Indianapolis, Ind.

Pennington’s scholarship will go towards her tuition as she pursues a degree in nursing.

“Having my hard work recognized through this award means so much to me,” Pennington said. “It makes all the time I’m putting in to reach my goals worthwhile.”

Along with receiving her scholarship, Pennington was asked to nominate a secondary teacher who influenced her decision to attend college, she said. For Pennington, this teacher was Saint Mary’s alumna, Jennifer Hardebeck Luce, class of ’96. Luce was presented with a Professional Development Grant of $1,000 as her award for nomination.

Pennington said Luce became her greatest mentor after she had Luce as her Spanish teacher in middle school.

“Her support and guidance ever since [middle school] has helped transform me into the person I am today,” Pennington said. “I now consider her a part of my family and I know that she will continue to be there for me in the years to come.”

Pennington said Luce’s experience at Saint Mary’s influenced her decision to attend the College.

“After seeing the impact that her Saint Mary’s College education had on her character as well as her competence as an educator, I knew that it was in my best interest to learn more about Saint Mary’s,” Pennington said.

Luce accompanied Pennington on her first visit to Saint Mary’s during her junior year of high school, she said.

“I fell in love with Saint Mary’s immediately and I knew that it was where I wanted to further my education,” Pennington said.

Pennington said Luce always told her that Saint Mary’s would be a perfect fit.

“I am glad I am at an institution that fosters the development of my character as well as prepares me for my nursing career,” Pennington said. “[Luce] was right from the very beginning because I can’t see myself anywhere else but at Saint Mary’s College.”

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