This year's Founder's Scholars have one thing in common


Have you ever wondered what that key ingredient is that winners of King's esteemed Founders' Scholarship competition all possess? In recent years, at least, that answer appears evident. For the second year in a row, all of the 2014 Founder's Scholarship winners--Andrew Hepler, Enoma Osakue and Grace LeFever--competed in high school speech and debate.

Hepler, from Bel Air, Md., believes that his experience with speech and debate is what gave him the confidence to participate in the Founder's competition.


“I’m an introvert, so when we got to the actual speech, I was like, ‘Okay, I can do this,’” Hepler said.

The Founder's Scholarship, which amounts to full-paid tuition ($15,950 per semester),  is awarded through a competition that includes an essay, presentation and an oral group participation portion.

Hepler says that winning the scholarship played a key role in his decision to come to King’s. Though Hepler looked into five other honors programs, it was King’s Founder's competition that he found to be the most unique and enjoyable.

When asked to describe his experience at King’s so far, Hepler, of the House of C.S. Lewis, said it has been “challenging, but fulfilling.” Besides staying on top of schoolwork, Hepler looks forward to eventually becoming a part of King’s Image Films next semester.

Osakue, from Missouri, Texas, also loved the challenge and uniqueness of the competition.

“It was weird--but in a good way,” Osakue said.

Like Hepler, Osakue was very involved in speech and debate throughout middle school and high school, but focused primarily on policy debate in high school.


Osakue is accustomed to answering questions in cross-examination debate, so it's no surprise that the Q&A session was her favorite part of the competition.

“I like asking questions, and I liked that there was not any specific right answer,” Osakue said.

Osakue, of the House of Clara Barton, was also involved in her high school’s Digital Media Academy, where students worked on projects in broadcasting, web design and photography.

LeFever, from Dixon, Calif., also gives credit to her speech and debate experience as a helping factor for Founder's competition.

LeFever, of the House of Susan B. Anthony, has two older sisters, Lucy ('16) and Clara ('13), who are also in the House of Anthony. Lucy is a part of the King’s Debate Society and a PPE major. Grace's oldest sister, Clara, graduated from King’s last spring with a degree in MCA.


LeFever chose to attend King's in part because of the MCA program, which she believes allows students to learn "how to use [the degree]" in the real world.

While speech and debate is a rising trend among Founder's Scholars, the unique thing about this year's Founder's competition winners is that there are only three of them.

Usually, King's awards the Founder's Scholarship to four students each year. However, this year, one student who received the scholarship made a delayed decision not to attend King’s this fall.

Because the decision was made so late in the summer, King’s was unable to award the scholarship to another competitor. Instead, the scholarship money was used towards current students throughout the student body who still needed financial aid.

According to Director of Admissions, Luke Smith, “It wasn’t a decision we were happy to make--it was a decision we were forced to make.”

Smith explained that the Admissions Department says they will award the scholarship to  “up to four” students, instead of guaranteeing four winners each year, for scenarios like this.