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Winners

View the current list of winners for this year’s Scholar of the Week program. The Scholar of the Week program is a partnership between Dakota News Now and your local Touchstone Energy Cooperatives that honors the region’s accomplished high school students. Each weekly winner receives a cash award from their local Touchstone Energy Cooperative and is featured on Dakota News Now. All winners are also eligible to receive one of the three scholarships that are given away at the annual Scholar of the Year banquet. Nominations for the weekly awards are submitted by area school principals and faculty, whose selections were based on excellence in the classroom and service in the community.

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Nicolette Hoffman

February 25, 2024 - March 2, 2024

School
Armour High School (605-724-2153)
GPA
4
Activities
(Grade participated in parentheses) *South Dakota Legislative Page (11) - Served 2-week term in SD House of Representatives *South Dakota Girls State (12) - Elected Mayor, State Senator, & State Delegate *4-H photography entries at county and state level (6,7, 8,9,10,11,12) - Photos chosen for 4-H Calendar each year *Intern at "Signature Studios" Photography (8, 9, 10) - Seniors, weddings, proms, graduation *Owner of "Photography by Nicolette" (10, 11, 12) - Started my own photography business: families, seniors, weddings, infants * National 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassador (12) - Attended National Conference in Nevada *South Dakota State 4-H Ambassador (9, 11) *Teen Leadership Conference Executive Planning Committee (9, 11) - Reporter *4-H Community Engagement Project (9) - Planned safety/self defense class for area youth *4-H Teen Leadership Conference (8, 9, 10, 11) - Overall Leader Award (8) *4-H State Communication Education Committee (11,12) *4-H Youth in Action: Public Presentation (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) - Top in age division at county *4-H Youth in Action: Fashion Review (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) - Top in age division at county each; 3rd in Seniors at SD State Fair (10th grade) *4-H Static Exhibits at county and State Fair (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) *4-H Shooting Sports - competitor (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12) Recurve Bow (4, 5) Compound Bow (3, 4) Air Pistol (3, 4, 5, 9) - 1 State Record .22 Pistol (11,12) BB Gun (2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12) - 1 State Record .22 rifle (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12) -13 State Records, Qualified for National Team Shotgun (9, 10, 11,12) *4-H Shooting Sports National Team Member in .22 Rifle (12) National Results: Individual: 3P - 1st, CMP - 4th, Aggregate - 6th; Team: CMP & 3P - 1st, Silhouettes & Aggregate - 2nd *4-H Shooting Sports - coach for younger shooters (10, 11,12) *Dakota Sharpshooters Precision Rifle Team (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) Qualifier for USA Shooting National Junior Olympics every year Air Rifle - Standing (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12) USA Shooting Junior Olympics: Silver in J3 Shooting National Championships: Gold in J3 Winter Airgun Championships: Bronze in J2 Robert Mitchell Championships: Gold in J2 Air Rifle - 3 Position (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12) American Legion 3P Air Rifle Nationals: Bronze-aggregate, Bronze-standing NRA 3P Air Rifle sectionals: Gold in Sub-Junior; Bronze in Sub-Junior CMP Distinguished Shooter Badge Smallbore j(6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12) USA Shooting Junior Olympics: Bronze in J3 USA Shooting National Championships: Silver in J3 *Tripp-Delmont-Armour High School Clay Target Shotgun League (9,10,11,12) *Outdoor Expo (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10) Top Shot Team Champions *Mitchell Friends of NRA Banquet Volunteer (5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11,12) Banquet Speaker and Presenter (10, 11,12) - Spoke on youth shooting sports *American Legion State Meeting (11) - Spoke on youth shooting sports *VFW Essay Competitions - Presented each year at Veteran's Day program Patriot's Pen Essay (8) - 1st place locally Voice Of Democracy (9, 10 , 11,12) - 2nd and 1st place locally; 3rd in District, presented at District VFW Meetings *Mitchell Area Community Theater (9) Musical production of "Elf" *Armour High School Spring Play (11,12) Lead female role *Oral Interpretation (11) Duet - qualified for regions; Reader's Theater *Piano & Organ (K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) Lessons, contests, church, preludes, accompaniment *High School Choir (11) *Thrive Youth Group at Rivertree Church in Mitchell (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) Attended summer & fall Bible Camps (6, 7, 8, 9, 10) Junior Counselor for Kids Camp (8, 9) *FLY Youth Group at St Peter Lutheran Church in Armour (9, 10, 11,12) Attended National Youth Conference (10, 11,12) *National Honor Society (11,12) - Student Council Representative *High School Class Vice President (11, 12) - Fundraising, Prom Planning *Skills USA (11,12) - Secretary *FOR (Friends of Rachel) Club (11) - Community service projects *High School Yearbook Staff (11,12) *Mitchell Homeschool Coop (5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Nicolette Hoffman is from Armour, SD, located within Douglas Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Quinton Berg Senior Picture

Quinton Berg

February 18, 2024 - February 24, 2024

School
Bridgewater-Emery (6054494271)
GPA
3.96
Activities
Quinton Berg is a very active student at Bridgewater Emery. Quinton Berg is dedicated to 4-H, FFA, Band, NHS, One-Act Play, academic excellence, community leadership opportunities, and community involvement as the volunteer school YouTube broadcaster in announcing football and basketball games for Bridgewater-Emery High School. Quinton’s dedication to the school and community speaks volumes in his accomplishments and the different leadership roles he is involved in. From representing Bridgewater-Emery as an SD Boy's State representative to his dedication to the fine arts by being a lead percussionist and an active member of the One-Act Play. Leadership continues to resonate with Quinton in all the different activities and leadership skills Quinton illustrates in and outside of school. The following are some of his highlights while a student at Bridgewater Emery: National Accomplishments: 10/2023 - 4-H Kansas City American Royal Livestock Judging, 13th High Overall and 3rd place Overall Team 09/2023 - 4-H Aksarben Livestock Judging Contest, 13th High Overall, 2nd Place High Swine 11/2022 - National 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl Team Captain, Louisville Kentucky 10/2022 - FFA Livestock Evaluation, 3rd Overall in Sheep and Goat Division and Silver Emblem 11/2021 - National 4-H Livestock Skillathon, 4th Overall Quality Assurance Division, Louisville Kentucky State Accomplishments: 09/2023 - SD 4-H State Livestock Judging Contest, 9th place overall 09/2023 - SD 4-H State Livestock Skill-a-thon, 3rd high overall 09/2023 - SD 4-H State Daily Skill-a-thon, 5th place overall 09/2022 - Grand Champion Senior SD SDSU Livestock Evaluation Judging Series. 09/2022 - SD Livestock Judging Series, Senior Division, Champion Overall 04/2022 - FFA Livestock Evaluation Team Champion, 10th Overall Individual Award 01/2022 - 4-H Black Hills Stock Show, Grand Champion Livestock Skill-a-thon Leadership Accomplishments: 2023-2024 - Klever Klovers 4-H Club President 2014-Current Klever Klovers 4-H Club Member 2018-Current - Bridgewater-Emery FFA member 2022-2023 - FFA Reporter Officer 04/2023 - FFA Washington Leadership Conference Scholarship Recipient & attendee Volunteer Involvement: 2019-Current - Voice of the Huskies and Seahawks YouTube Sports Broadcaster 2015-Current - St Martins Catholic Church lector and altar server 08/2023 - 4-H volunteer in educating youth on the use of AEDs at local 4-H Club meeting 08/2023 - Installing new AEDs at Hanson County 4-H Fairgrounds 07/2023 - Organize, Serve, and Educate on 4-H Livestock Evaluation Clinic 03/2023 - FFA volunteer helper for Bridgewater/Emery CDE 10/2022 - 4-H volunteer event: Handing candy out for Halloween in Alexandria 10/2022 - FFA volunteer to make and deliver harvest meals for the FFA local chapter 11/2020 - 4-H volunteer event: Sewing cloth masks for COVID-19 relief 10/2022 - FFA volunteer event with the National Day of Service 08/2022 - FFA volunteer at petting zoo help younger youth 02/2022 - FFA volunteer for CDE fundraiser soup supper

Quinton Berg is from Emery, SD, located within Central Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Andrea 1

Andrea Miller

February 11, 2024 - February 17, 2024

School
Gayville-Volin High School (605-267-4476)
GPA
4.04
Activities
1. High Honor Roll; Grades 9,10,11 2. Girls State Delegate (I was unfortunately unable to attend due to the overlapping of State Softball) 3. Attended HOBY (Grade 10) 4. Softball; Qualified for Fall Ball State (8) (10), Qualified for Summer Ball State (7)(8)(9)(10)(11), Qualified for High School State (11). Have Hit 14 career homeruns, Have 7 school records, and for sure one state record and a tied state record. Captain (11), All-State Infielder honorable mention (11). 5. Basketball; Made Varsity (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) 6. Track; Made Varsity (8) (9) (10) 7. Volleyball; Took Stats (11) (12), and Qualified for state (12) 8. Youth Group; 9,10,11,12; collected food for the local food pantry (11)(12) 9. 4-H Volunteer; 6,7,8,9,10,11,12 10. Mission trip to New Orleans; 12 11.Mentoring Program; 10,11,12; I take 30 minuets out of every week to help a younger student gain better social skills or help them with school work if needed. 12. Student Council; 10,11,12 13. FFA; 10,11,12; Chapter Reporter (12), State qualifier in Livestock Judging (10), Represented my chapter as a state delegate (11). Attended Notional FFA Convention (11)(12) 14. 4-H; 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12; was award the helping hands award in my county (11), won 5th over all market lamb at the state fair (11), reserve seniors showman at state fair (12), clay county High point livestock judging champion (8) (10) (11), club treasurer (10), County ambassador (11) (12). 15. FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes); 9,10,11,12 16. SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions); 9,10,11,12

Andrea Miller is from Gayville, SD, located within Clay-Union Electric Corporation, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Zoey

Zoey Christensen

February 4, 2024 - February 10, 2024

School
Viborg-Hurley High School (605-766-5418)
GPA
4.11
Activities
National Honor Society, HOSA, FFA, Volleyball, Track, Student Council, Class President, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, All School Play, Boys basketball statistician

Zoey Christensen is from Viborg, SD, located within Southeastern Electric Coop, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Grace Anderson Sr Pic HBC

Grace Anderson

January 28, 2024 - February 3, 2024

School
Hills-Beaver Creek HS (507.962.3240)
GPA
3.94
Activities
Volleyball, Knowledge Bowl, Math League, High Honor Student, Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), Homecoming Queen.

Grace Anderson is from Beaver Creek, MN, located within Sioux Valley Energy, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Avery picture

Avery Norris

January 21, 2024 - January 27, 2024

School
Elk Point-Jefferson (605-356-5900)
GPA
4
Activities
band, jazz band, choir, drum line, volleyball, golf, student council, NHS, science fair, and newspaper NHS and Student Body president, drum major, attending All-State Choir for two years, being editor of the newspaper, attending Quad State Honor Band, placing 2nd in her category at state science fair her sophomore year and 1st her junior year, and A Honor Roll since freshmen year.

Avery Norris is from Elk Point, SD, located within Union County Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Rain Swenson

Rain Swenson

January 14, 2024 - January 20, 2024

School
Woonsocket High School (605-796-4431)
GPA
4
Activities
Activities- Oral Interp, School Play, Art Club Director, Varsity Golf, Choir, Regional Music Festival, Taekwondo, National Honor Society, Student Council Treasurer, Girls State Representative. Volunteering- School Concessions, Feeding South Dakota, Community Clean-up. Job- Cashier at Woony Foods Food Market.

Rain Swenson is from Wessington Springs, SD, located within Central Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Jackson Peck

Jackson Peck

January 7, 2024 - January 13, 2024

School
James Valley Christian School (605-352-7737)
GPA
3.43
Activities
Three time letter winner in basketball and track, four time letter winner in soccer, soccer team captain, Senior class President, High Honor Role, Student Council, Band, Church Youth group community service

Jackson Peck is from Huron, SD, located within Dakota Energy Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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John Mortrude

December 17, 2023 - December 23, 2023

School
Dell Rapids Public High School (605-428-5473)
GPA
4
Activities
Education-Dell Rapids High School GPA: 4.0 Class Rank: 1 of 65 Act Composite Score: 29 High School Credits By Graduation: 33.75 College Dual Credit Hours By Graduation: 24 Community Service ● Mission Trip to Jamaica with The Rescue Church (11) ● Church on the Street (10) ● Habitat for Humanity (10,11,12) ● Referee Youth Wrestling Tournament (9,10,11,12) ● Referee Middle School Football Jamboree (12) ● The Banquet (10) ● Elementary School Football Signing/Question Day (11) ● St Francis House (12) ● RFK Camp Volunteer (12) ● Madyson Barbee Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser (11,12) Leadership Opportunities ● South Dakota Boys State 2023 ○ City of New York Mayor ○ Minnehaha County Auditor ○ Court Appointed Defense Attorney ○ South Dakota Senator ○ South Dakota Attorney General ○ Passed The Bar Exam ○ Boys Nation Interviewed Candidate ● Service Leadership Academy by The Humanity Launch Athletics ● Football (9,10,11,12) ○ Playoff Qualifier (9,10,11,12) ○ State Champion (11) ○ Letterwinner (11,12) ○ Academic All State (12) ○ Fellowship of Christain Athletes Seminar (10,11,12) ● Wrestling (9,10,11,12) ○ Team Captain (11,12) ○ Class A All State Honorable Mention (10) ○ State Tournament Qualifier (10) ○ Letterwinner (9,10,11) ● Track (9,10,11,12) ○ State Meet Qualifier (9,11) ○ Letterwinner (9,10,11) ● Baseball (9,10) Extracirricular/Student Organizations ● SQUAD - Supporting Quarriers United And Dependable(11,12) ● TATU-Teens Against Tobacco Use (11,12) ● Quiz Bowl (11,12) ○ Team Captain(12) ● National Honor Society (11,12) ○ Leadership Position Community Organizations ● Sons Of The American Legion Member (12) ● Member of Lutheran Church of Dell Rapids ○ Rally Sunday Volunteer (12) ● Mutual Ministry Committee (10,11,12) Special Awards ● Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award ● American Legion Good Citizen Award Work Experience ● Kimmel Properties LLC (9,10,11,12) Other Things To Know About Me ● Veterans Community Project Fundraiser (12) ○ Over $1,000 and counting ● Enjoy riding motorcycle (11,12) ○ Reason to Ride Poker Run (Ronald McDonald House) ○ Warriers for Mick Poker Run (ALS) ● Enjoy Hunting, Fishing, and Campin

John Mortrude is from Dell Rapids, SD, located within Sioux Valley Energy, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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Tayden Wells

December 10, 2023 - December 16, 2023

School
Vermillion High School (605.677.7000)
GPA
4
Activities
Soccer every year in high school, club soccer, basketball and baseball freshman year, track during junior year, lettered in soccer every year, National Honor Society, Team Captain for soccer, helps to coach youth soccer, referee youth soccer, participated in Missouri River Clean up day 2023, works at Mart Bros Construction

Tayden Wells is from Vermillion, SD, located within Clay-Union Electric Corporation, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.