Holding back the tears, Margaret "Liesel" Keel held the slip of paper in her hand that gave her the notice she didn't think would come.
It was the Lawrence Journal-World carrier scholarship, given annually to an outstanding senior who delivers or has delivered the newspaper in the past.
"I thought they only gave one (scholarship) so when I saw that Casey (Lauer) got it I thought I didn't have a chance.
Lauer was presented with a similar scholarship during award ceremonies Monday at Free State High School.
Keel has been delivering the paper since January 1990. She has worked the route with her brother and sister.
"My parents helped, too," she said.
Keel received a base scholarship topped off by $15 for each month she delivered the paper. Her award is $2,165.
"The best part about delivering the paper is getting to know the people," she said. "I feel like I have a bunch of foster parents out there looking out for me."
The worst part of the job?
"Getting up so early," she said.
Despite all of her early hours, Keel still managed to participate in marching band, German Club, Key Club, jazz band, Model UN, pingpong club and National Honor Society.
Caroline Wilson, J-W circulation district manager, said Keel has been a faithful carrier for more than nine years.
"She's very dependable," Wilson said. "She always keeps me informed in things on her route. I wish I had a lot more like her."
Keel said she will keep delivering the paper until July, just before she begins classes at Kansas University.
"It's nice to know all the hard work paid off," she said.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.