SHS senior receives prestigious IU Wells scholarship

SHS senior receives prestigious IU Wells scholarship

These days, Scottsburg High School senior Kaleb Mount is breathing a little easier.

“I’m done. It’s so relieving,” Mount said. “I’m not checking out academically. I am doing everything I need to do to prepare myself.”

Mount is not just breathing easier because there are about 60 school days left until graduation — he is breathing easier because he is one of 25 students worldwide offered the Indiana University’s most competitive and prestigious awards, the Wells Scholarship.

“The greatest value of the scholarship is the scholarship program itself. It has a reputation,” Mount said.

The Wells Scholar Program has produced students, who have “gone on to win more than 75 national and international scholarships, fellowships, and grants, such as the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Soros, Mitchell, Churchill, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright, and Goldwater,” according to the program’s website. By being a Wells Scholar, Mount will receive full-tuition to IU Bloomington, a one-time stipend of $10,000 for living expenses, a one-time award of $25,000 for foreign travel, and $2,000 to use toward a research project or an internship.

“I’m excited to see my options there,” said Mount, who will be double majoring in law and public policy and physics in the fall.

To be considered, Mount had to be nominated by Scottsburg High School in mid- to late-September. He had to submit his résumé and meet a list of criteria, including, but not limited to, having outstanding academic prowess and exceptional leadership and character. From there, two were selected from each school in Indiana and others were throughout the world. The 55 finalists found out in mid-November that they would move to the next round: the interview. In December, the finalists were invited to IU for the group and individual interviews.

“After I spent the weekend at IU, I felt like IU was where I needed to be. I absolutely love the campus,” Mount said. “All the professors are so qualified.”

On a Sunday evening, Mount received a phone call. He knew the Wells Scholar Program coordinators were supposed to call to let the finalists know whether they received the award. The call was supposed to take place around noon, but Mount did not receive his call until 9 p.m. because he was third to last on the list of 25, who were from different time zones, states, and even countries, including Indiana, Australia, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, and California.

“It was pure torture,” Mount said as he waited by the phone all day waiting for the call.

As a Wells Scholar, Mount will be assigned an advisor to help him navigate through his undergraduate years. He said his advisor is a leading authority on intellectual property and the head of the Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

“They help you towards those graduate scholarship,” Mount said. “It will also be helpful when I look at law school.”

While at IU, Mount will need to maintain at least a 3.2 grade-point average to keep his scholarship, will be part of the Honors program, and will be living in the Civic Leader Center. The Civic Leader Center is a living-learning community that is under the guidance of Paul Helmke, a graduate of Yale Law School, three-term mayor of Fort Wayne, and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C. Those living at the Civic Leader Center take a yearly trip to nation’s capital, Mount said.

One thing Mount will not need to worry about is about 40 hours of college credit he has earned by passing dual credit classes at SHS.

“I have a little more wiggle room,” Mount said about earning college credits while in high school. “I have a year out of the way through dual credit.”

As the countdown to graduation continues, Mount can focus on finishing his high school career and not focus on financing his undergraduate college education.

“I want to thank all my teachers for preparing me,” Mount said.

All the preparation and hard work paid off for Mount. Now, he can focus on the next chapter of his life in college. At Scott County School District 2, Mount’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.