GARY — Senior Cammay Brown wasn’t expecting the news for another couple of weeks when a caravan of cars pulled down her street in east Gary.
“You won!” Legacy Foundation Scholarship Coordinator Jodi Kateiva told Brown in a video call Thursday afternoon. “You’ve worked so hard and I’m super happy your hard work has paid off.”
Surrounded by educators from throughout her Gary schools career, Brown was one of six Lake County seniors to learn Thursday that they had received a full-ride Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.
“I know it’s not one in a million, but that’s how it feels, one in a million, especially because I’m in Gary and they really don’t expect much out of us, but —” Brown said, breaking off in tears.
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Brown is the first West Side Leadership Academy student named a Lilly Scholar in six years. The West Side senior said she hopes to apply her love for math and AP Chemistry toward chemical engineering studies somewhere close to home — Valparaiso University, Purdue Northwest or Purdue West Lafayette, perhaps.
“It’s really broad,” Brown said. “There’s a lot that you can do with chemical engineering, and I’ll really be able to help Gary as a whole with chemical engineering.”
Brown she learned of the Legacy Foundation’s scholarship application just two days before it was due, answering the foundation’s prompt “Explain an obstacle in your academic career” with the story of her perseverance starting high school taking care of her mother who had battled brain and breast cancer.