Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana has awarded three of its $5,000 college scholarships to Southsiders.
Claire Whalen of Roncalli, Sydney Castellanos of Center Grove and Perry Meridian’s Erika Shellenberger were among the 25 seniors who received scholarships during an awards ceremony May 22 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. The recipients were selected based on their academic achievements, community involvement and financial need.
“It is our goal to help make the dream of a college education a reality for students who may not be able to attend,” said Gerry Stieglitz, president of the charity.
Whalen, daughter of Rob and Liz Whalen and Roncalli’s valedictorian, plans to major in psychology at Notre Dame, where she will follow a premed track of study. “I feel privileged to have been accepted to Notre Dame.”
Whalen’s rigorous coursework included 10 Advance Placement courses. She is a National Merit Commended Scholar and earned perfect scores on the ACT English and reading sections.
Her extracurricular activities included cross country, track and field and basketball, in which she was named Academic All-State and Most Valuable Player. She is among the top five female high jumpers in school history.
Whalen, who recently participated in Roncalli’s Summer Field Studies program in Durango, Colo., has done volunteer work at a homeless family shelter, SS. Francis & Clare Church, food distribution centers, a home for the elderly and the Center for Global Impact.
Castellanos, who earned a 4.5 GPA, plans to major in microbiology and public health at Indiana University.
“I will be on a premed track and am very excited to meet other young adults who are interested in making a difference in the medical world,” she said. “I am looking forward to being involved in student government and possibly participating in intramural sports. This summer I will travel to Australia with my family and hike in Yellowstone National Park.”
Throughout high school, where she earned a 4.5 GPA, she did medical volunteer work in Peru and at food banks and was an active member of a community service group. “I plan to continue such activities while attending IU,” said the daughter of Dana Lindsay and Peter Castellanos.
Perry Meridian valedictorian Schellenberger earned a 4.65 GPA and plans to major in civil engineering at Embory-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Fla., where she will play golf for the Eagles. “I’m super ready to go to college,” she said. “I’m not worried about getting homesick,” which isn’t to say she won’t miss her parents, Todd and Marie, and brother Drew, a sophomore at Southport.
Schellenberger, who can be found golfing or practicing six days a week, said she considers an 80 a good round. “I love playing every day, and I really enjoy playing with my friends.” Her sole hole-in-one came while playing on a small course in Florida.
In between her rounds of golf, she finds time to volunteer with Kids Tri for Kids, a youth triathlon series. “I used to be a participant before helping my dad coordinate the events.”
In addition to awarding scholarships, Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a home-away-from-home for families of children receiving medical care at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and other area hospitals. As many as 58 families call the house “home” on any given night.