Aiden Minton adds Lilly Scholarship to academic achievements

Aiden Minton is having quite an academic year.

After being named a National Merit Semi-Finalist, the Salem High School senior recently learned that he was awarded the Lilly Scholarship.

Minton said there was no dramatic surprise announcement. He said it was a simple trip to the mailbox, but he admits when he saw who the letter was from, it felt like his heart stopped for a moment.

“A lot of other counties around the state had already announced their winners, but Washington County hadn’t,” he said.

Minton said there was a sense of relief as he opened the letter and saw that he was selected out of the 43 students in Washington County to receive the scholarship.

“I’ve worked so hard throughout my high school career and it was so nice to hear that the work had paid off,” he said.

The 43 applicants are sent outside of county and an independent group selects the winner, based on grade point average, extra curricular activities, honor awards and community service.

There is another honor that could be coming soon. Minton will learn in early February if he is a National Merit Finalist.

Minton’s parents are Brent and Heather. He said his mom has worked with students in Crawford County and helped them achieve some of the things he is now achieving. He credits her for guiding him down the right paths.

“My mother teaches at Crawford, which is smaller than Salem,” he said. “I give her a lot of credit for these accomplishments. She really helped to push me to take classes at Ivy Tech and made sure that I’m not slacking off, because she knows how hard it is to get these kind of awards in small towns. It’s nice to have her and her experience from Crawford County pushing me.

“So, I can go seek the big town classes and still get to experience growing up in a small town, where people from big towns can’t experience what I get to experience in a small town.”

The awards are fun, but there is also the future, Minton said he hasn’t made any decisions about his future. He said he is leaning toward Purdue University and plans to major in Environmental Science or some sort of food sustainability research.

“Purdue has a great department of environmental science and a strong Ag department,” he said.

Minton said he wants to work to make crops more sustainable for the future.

“I know a lot of people are afraid of GMOs, but they really are what will protect our food in the future and I want to make sure that families have food,” he said. “I’ve volunteered at the food bank and helped with the food distribution at the school during the pandemic and a lot of people have struggled having food and we have to make sure that doesn’t become more prevalent with a growing population. I want to research how to make crops and food more sustainable.”

Minton said the volunteer work helped lead him down that path, but it has also been his work in FFA, where he is the District 11 Treasurer, as well as his work in the Salem Ag department.

“I’ve had a lot of experience in the Ag department and the work at the food bank really was a combination that pushed me in this direction,” he said.

In addition to Ag and FFA, Minton is on the student council at SHS, is the president of the science club and he competes in the science olympiad.

“I have been in a lot more clubs, but those are the ones I’ve found to be the most fulfilling,” he said.

When he isn’t studying and taking part in school activities, Minton said he likes to hang out with his dog, travel and learn the history about those places he is traveling, which is difficult to do in the middle of a pandemic.

“I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to be stagnant,” he said.


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