One of our favorite days of the year is today. We get to celebrate the Rising Star of the West Scholarship Contest winners today.
And that entails giving away scholarships worth a combined $7,500 from Monument Health and Black Hills FOX. On Tuesday night, we declared the winners.
The Rising Star of the West for this year is Douglas senior Amanda Rothe, who also receives a $4,000 scholarship. She continues the legacy of her sister Melissa, who took first place in the 2020 competition. When the results were announced Tuesday night, Amanda wasn’t home.
Rothe says, “I was at a baseball game and I had my mom send me a video of the news. So I was holding it up to my ear. I have a video of me reacting to it too, but it just goes ‘oh my goodness’. And that was basically the entire thing. And all the mom around me at the baseball game wanted to see it too.”
Amanda intends to finish her general studies at Black Hills State before continuing her education studies at Martin Luther College in Minnesota. Sydney Meissner, a senior at Stevens, came in second place this year and earned a $2,000 scholarship. Sydney claims that the procedure was somewhat nerve-racking.
Meissner says, “Both times I got to record I as definitely shaking and very nervous. And while it was a really long process, waiting and waiting and waiting and asking all my family and friends to vote for me, it’s all good in the end. It was definitely an interesting and fun learning experience.”
Sydney is heading to South Dakota State University, starting with interdisciplinary studies. Third place in this year’s contest went to Rapid City Christian senior Faith Stoddard. With that, Faith gets a $1,000 scholarship.
She says the experience of the contest was a good one. Faith says, “It was really fun. It was definitely new something I never thought I would do and pulled me out of my comfort zone. But it was a blast.”
Faith is heading to Grand Canyon University, majoring in forensic psychology. Our fourth place finisher this year was Stevens junior Serenity Johnson. She was the only non-senior in this year’s finals. Serenity says this is not something she’s done a lot of.
Serenity says, “I have not done a lot of public speaking before. I’ve been told I know how to talk a lot. I think this was super cool for me to get up here and get to share my wisdom with Rapid City and get to show them that a blind person can get up here and do it like the quote, unquote sighted kids, so yeah.”
Serenity plans to be a teacher for the blind and visually impaired.