Like two other Lilly Scholar finalists, Jason “Jake” Hawes was convinced the final announcement of the 2013 Lilly Scholar would come during second period Tuesday.
“We had a guess on the day and we were wrong,” said Hawes, smiling at a group of Cass County Community Foundation representatives, school officials and his parents gathered Wednesday afternoon in a conference room in the Logansport High School administrative office.
Hawes, an LHS senior, was named the 2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient. He is the son of Kelly Hawes, manager of CNHI’s Indiana design center, and Teri Hawes.
After giving her son a hug, Teri asked, “Are you all right?”
“Still working on it,” Jake responded, attempting to maintain control of his wavering voice.
The scholarship provides funding for four years’ tuition, fees and books at the university of the student’s choice. Jake plans to attend Purdue University to study aeronautical/astronautical engineering, he said. The university’s website estimates tuition for an Indiana resident at $9,900 per year.
Jake said he intends to make a difference in the world and sees himself doing that through space colonization. He’s been impressed with Purdue’s engineering reputation since living in Galveston, Texas, about 45 minutes from NASA.
“It’s like Ivy League” in astronautical circles, he said. “You can’t beat the third best engineering school in the country being 45 minutes away.”
Quoting Carl Sagan, Jake explained why he felt space colonization would be the next step in human advancement. “I want to make a difference and that’s how I see myself making a difference,” he said.
But he doesn’t think it’ll be easy.
“I didn’t choose my major because it’s what I’m good at,” said Jake. He can do math, he said, but he’s not a natural at it like some of his friends. “I chose it because it’s what I want to do with my life.”
“Jake has challenged himself like very few have,” said principal Matt Jones. Teri says he’s one of three LHS seniors who’ve maintained a straight-A grade average. He’s also student body president, editor of The Magpie student newspaper and active on the football and speech teams as well as in several school clubs.
“You could talk to all the coaches — he’s one of the hardest-working kids on the team,” added Jones. “It’s well beyond just the academic excellence.”
Kelly said he and his wife were very proud of Jake. He had had to keep the secret for almost a day before CCCF representatives finally made the announcement, even keeping Teri in the dark until CCCF director Deanna Crispen called her around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
“I was totally shocked because the kids had me convinced that [the announcement] would be Tuesday during second period,” said Teri.
“I didn’t talk to him any more than I absolutely had to,” said Kelly, fearing he’d let the secret slip. “You don’t want to spoil a surprise like that.”
Jake was honored even to be among the top six finalists, Kelly added. “He gives credit to his parents, but he has the intellect and is a lot smarter than his dad.”
He suggested that extensive reading had contributed to his academic development. “If he has spare time, he reads,” said Kelly. “When he was a newborn, we were reading to him.”
Jake said his academic mentors had contributed greatly to his success.
“Just for the record, none of what I’ve done at LHS would have been possible without all the people standing in this room,” he said, motioning toward his parents, guidance counselors and Jones. He said opportunities like participating in the BerryBotics competition and extracurricular activities had been invaluable.
The community foundation received 16 applications for this year’s scholarship, each with at least a 1100 score on the SAT and a 3.5 or higher grade point average.
Six finalists — Kaley Bean, Kelley McKaig and Elizabeth Bingaman, all of Pioneer High School; and Laura Cahalan, Connor Kinnaman and Jake, all of Logansport High School — were named in March. Crispen noted that the remaining five finalists would also be receiving CCCF scholarships.
Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151.