Scholarship surprise for student’s parents

For one Seymour High School senior, hard work, persistence and taking a teacher’s advice all paid off, both figuratively and literally.

Kyle Valencia, 17, recently received a William R. Fry scholarship from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. The scholarship includes full tuition along with room and board.

News of the scholarship arrived by email to Kyle while he was in Tracy Buchanan’s classroom working on another scholarship application after school. Buchanan is Valencia’s Advanced Placement computer science principles teacher.

“I happened to see the email window with the subject line that said Fry Scholarship and congratulations,” Valencia said. “I felt like I’d been transported to another dimension.”

Within five minutes after receiving the good news, he handed Buchanan his Chromebook so she could read the email. He told her this was something she might want to see, he said.

Buchanan was the one who redirected Valencia to Indiana University because he initially had planned on attending Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.

“It all came about at parent-teacher conferences in the fall,” Buchanan said. “Kyle’s parents and his twin sister attended, but he did not. We spoke about Kyle’s plans for the future.”

Valencia’s parents,┬áJose and Julia Valencia, told Buchanan he was thinking about commuting to IUPUC for two years so he also could work and save up money to attend IU for his last two years of college.

“I was telling his parents that he needed to go to IU all four years, and they said that they thought so, too,” Buchanan said. “I knew he could get the IU renewable achievement scholarships because of his grades.”

Buchanan also told Kyle’s parents that if he went directly to IUPUC, he would not be eligible for those scholarships. In addition, she explained to them how the cultural experience is a very important part of college.

“At the parent-teacher conference, we told Ms. Buchanan that he wanted to go to IUPUC because he wanted to come out of school debt-free,” Julia Valencia said. “We asked her to encourage Kyle to consider IU.”

Buchanan said she knew Kyle was worried about carrying student loans and wanted to avoid taking loans out altogether or take out as little as possible.

“IUPUC was my first choice, but I was going to apply to IU as a Plan B,” Kyle said. “Then Ms. Buchanan shared her thoughts about IU, and I began to think about it. Now, I see it’s a good thing that she encouraged me on that path.”

Once Kyle got his direct admission into the IU Kelley School of Business, he was offered the opportunity to apply for the Fry scholarship, Buchanan said.

“He is such a nice and deserving young man, and I really cannot say enough good things about him,” Buchanan said. “It almost brought tears to my eyes. The outcome for Kyle was better than I could have ever imagined, and I could not be more proud of him.”

Kyle found out about the scholarship on a Tuesday but did not tell his parents until the following Saturday. He originally had planned on waiting until graduation day and surprising them with the news.

“There was a lunch event and other things that needed to be done in order to complete the scholarship process, so I had to go ahead and tell them about it,” Kyle said.

He sprung the scholarship surprise on his family after they returned home from an out-of-state trip where his twin sister, Trinity, who also is a senior, was visiting a college.

“We’d been to Kentucky with our daughter, Trinity, to Murray State University because she’s planning on attending there for veterinarian science,” Julia said. “We didn’t get home until about 12:30 or 1 a.m. that Saturday night.”

Kyle asked his parents to go sit at the table because there was something he needed to tell them.

“I kept asking him what he’d done, and then he said, ‘What would you say if I told you I got a full-ride scholarship to IU?'” Julia said. “He’s a prankster, so we thought he was joking, but he handed us a FedEx packet that had come earlier in the week.”

Kyle said when his mom told him a packet had arrived about the William R. Fry Scholars Program, his heart sank because he thought she had found out, but she had only glanced at the letter and didn’t realize what it was.

“Then his sister looked over my shoulder at the paperwork he’d handed me and congratulated him,” Julia said. “That’s when we realized it was true, and his dad and I were so excited and proud.”

Kyle videotaped his parents’ reaction to show Buchanan at school. His dad didn’t show much reaction, but his mom looked like there were question marks floating around her head, he said.

“Mom was like, ‘A full ride?’ and my dad thought it was a joke initially, but then it started to sink in,” Kyle said. “My dad, who normally wears a sock hat, pulled the hat off, and that’s when I knew he believed me.”

Kyle will be attending IU this fall, majoring in business administration with a concentration in finance.

“I had visited the IU campus previously,” Kyle said. “It is a big place and easy to get lost in, but I was impressed by how grand, formal and nice everything was.”

Kyle’s advice for students hoping to receive scholarships is to apply to as many as possible because you never know what could happen.

“It’s almost like extra credit,” he said. “It can’t hurt you. It can only help you, but if you don’t apply, then you can’t be eligible.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”On the Web” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

For information about the William R. Fry Scholars Program, visit

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Kyle Valencia’s extracurricular activities at Seymour High School

National Honor Society

Marching Owls marching band

Symphonic band/wind ensemble

French Club

Biology Club

Environmental Club

Archery Club

Archery team

Sit and Knit Club

2016 prom court