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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.

Jackson Baer Photo

Jackson Baer

February 5, 2023 - February 11, 2023

School
Deuel High School (6058742161)
GPA
3.22
Activities
Activities: Chorus Oral Interp School Play Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) South Dakota Army National Guard Achievements: Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Student Advisor Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) School Representative School Play Assistant Director Completed Basic Training.

Jackson Baer is from Clear Lake, SD, located within H-D Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Keanna Lee

Keanna Lee

January 29, 2023 - February 4, 2023

School
Gayville-Volin High School (605-267-4476)
GPA
3.89
Activities
Extracurricular Activities o Volleyball o Basketball o Track and Field o SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) o Oral Interpretation o Destination Imagination o Mentoring Program o FCA (Fellowship for Christian Athletes) o Student Council o Band Work Experience CNA, Sacred Heart Monastery (May 2022-Present) o Assist with personal care needs o Feed residents o Clean rooms and equipment o Laundry care for residents Care Giver, Life Scape (April 2021-Present) o Provide companion care o Assist with personal care needs o Drive clients to desired areas/places Babysitter (May 2017-present) o Supervised two children from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. o Prepared meals and fed children o Entertained children Volunteer Experience Volunteer, Special Olympics (July 2019-Present) o Assist in the sporting events o Set up events o Help with fundraisers Honors & Awards Attended Girl State 2022, Attended the Humanity Launch Service Leadership Academy, Volleyball Team Captain, Track & Field Throwing Team Captain, Co-President for Student Council, Honor Roll every year of high school, and Most Improved Player Award for 2019-2020 basketball season.

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

Prestonkoster

Preston Koster

January 22, 2023 - January 28, 2023

School
Armour High School (6057242153)
GPA
3.96
Activities
National Honors Society Freshman Student Council Representative Sophomore Student Council Representatvie Junoir Student Council Representative Student Council Secretary/Treasurer One-Act Play (freshman-senior) 3-Act Play (sophomore) Band (8th-senior) Basketball (freshman-senior) Track (8th-senior) Cross Country (7th-sophomore) Fellowship of Christian Atheletes (freshman-senior) Lorain Theatre Volunteer (7th-senior) Armour Community Pool Lifeguard (freshman-junior) FOR Club (freshman-senior) Blood Drive Volunteer (freshman-senior) Blood Donater (senior) Armour Youth Group (6th-senior) Food Pantry Donations (6th-senior) Skills USA (freshman-senior)

Preston Koster is from Armour, SD, located within Douglas Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Madi

Madilyn Mudder

January 15, 2023 - January 21, 2023

School
Avon Public School (605-286-3291)
GPA
3.68
Activities
Madi is a very responsible young lady. She works hard in the classroom, asks questions, and always puts her best foot forward. Outside the classroom, she has helped with JH volleyball (line judge/ref), announces at high school volleyball games, helps run the track timing system, and is a cheerleader in multiple sports. Madi is a dependable student and is willing to help whenever asked. In addition to her classes, Madi has been actively involved in chorus and band throughout high school. Madi is a great role model for younger students and displays the work ethic and behavior our younger students can follow.

Madilyn Mudder is from Avon, SD, located within Bon Homme-Yankton Electric Assn., a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Hans L

Hans Lapka

December 18, 2022 - December 24, 2022

School
Leola High School (6054393142)
GPA
3.85
Activities
Hans is a senior at Leola High School that involves himself in all areas. He challenges himself in the classroom by taking courses to best prepare him for his college plans. He is involved in many extra-curricular activities including 4-H for 10 years, FFA President, FBLA, STEAM Club, football, basketball, track, jazz band, show choir, sings National Anthem at events, and participates in the Science Bowl. Hans can also be found in the community volunteering as a religious education teacher for the past three years, church mass server, refereeing middle school football games, helping at the local Thrift Store, mowing lawns for neighbors with health needs, and assisting with the local ArtC Club with their events. Hans strives to be the best in all the activities he participates in and has received recognition including A honor roll, Lake Region All Conference Team, Football MVP, Most Improved Basketball, Boys’ State Representative, Football Hardest Worker Award, Football Special Teams Award, SD 4-H Trap Shoot 5th place, Best of Show at the McPherson County 4-H show in horticulture, wood science, foods & nutrition, hobbies & collections and was voted by his peers as the Homecoming King this year.

Hans Lapka is from Leola, SD, located within FEM Electric Association, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Trey Huber

Trey Huber

December 11, 2022 - December 17, 2022

School
Clark High School (605-532-3605)
GPA
3.97
Activities
Football-4 year Letterwinner. 4 Year Starter 3 Year Captain. All-Conference Player with many team awards. Basketball-5 year Letterwinner. 4 year Starter 3 Year Captain All-Conference with many team awards. As an 8th grader was a member of the 2019 State Championship Team. Track-4 Year Letterwinner Baseball National Honor Society SADD Senior Class President Member of the Student Council 4 years Special Olympic Unified Bowling Partner FFA

Trey Huber is from Conde, SD, located within Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

A George

Abiah George

December 4, 2022 - December 10, 2022

School
Central High School (6057258101)
GPA
4.34
Activities
Awards/Recognition: Speech and Debate Awards/Recognitions: 19th in the Nation in Public Forum in National Speech and Debate Tournament 2021-2022 SDHS AA State Debate Individual Events Championship Runner-Up in International Extemp National Speech and Debate Qualifier (Public Forum) 2020-2021 National Speech and Debate Qualifier (Public Forum) 2021-2022 National Speech and Debate Attendee (Public Forum) 2020-2021 National Speech and Debate Attendee (Public Forum) 2021-2022 National Forensic League Degree of Premier Distinction Speech Letter Winner 2019-2020 Speech Letter Winner 2020-2021 Speech Letter Winner 2021-2021 Debate Letter Winner 2020-2021 Debate Letter Winner 2021-2021 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)Awards/Recognitions: 11th in the Nation in Introduction to Business Presentation in FBLA Nationals 2020-2021 FBLA National Qualifier 2019-2020 FBLA National Qualifier 2020-2021 FBLA National Qualifier 2021-2022 FBLA National Attendee 2020-2021 State Champion in Business Management in SD State FBLA 2022 State Champion in Hospitality & Event Management in SD State FBLA 2022 State Champion in Entrepreneurship in SD State FBLA 2021 State Champion in International Business in SD State FBLA 2021 State Champion in Introduction to Business Presentation in SD State FBLA 2021 State Champion in International Business in SD State FBLA 2020 State Runner-Up in Spelling Relay in SD State FBLA 2022 State Runner-Up in Entrepreneurship in SD State FBLA 2022 State Runner-Up in Partnership with Business Project in SD State FBLA 2022 Third place in International Business in SD State FBLA 2022 Fifth place in Human Resource Management in SD State FBLA 2022 Fifth place in Introduction to Business Procedures in SD State FBLA 2021 Fifth place in Introduction to FBLA in SD State FBLA 2021 FBLA Letter Winner 2021-2022 Others: South Dakota Girls State Representative Outstanding Appellate Attorney ALA SD Girls State 2022 ALA Girls State licensed Attorney and Counselor 2020-2021 Rotary Award for International Understanding Participated in the 39th Annual Northern South Dakota Science and Mathematics Fair SADD Letter Winner 2019-2020 SADD Letter Winner 2020-2021 SADD Letter Winner 2021-2022 Keystone Award in Leadership September Student of the Month 2019 AP Scholar Positions/Titles Held FBLA secretary 2021-2022 SADD President 2021-2022 (Brought membership from 6 people to over 50 people) SADD President 2022-2023 NHS Vice President 2022-2023 Eagle Squad Leader 2021-2022 Eagle Squad Leader 2022-2023 Community Service Volunteered at Done Waiting for 120 hours Co-organized and Led the SADD Community Service Project 2020-2021(Care packages for domestic abuse victims) Co-organized and led the SADD Community Service Project 2021-2022 (Care packages for kids, teens and elderly in hospitals within Aberdeen) Organized and Led the Halloween Safety Program (Reached all public schools in Aberdeen and conducted a presentation on Halloween Safety for elementary school students) Organized multiple skataway nights sponsored by SADD Fundraised for veterans through the American Auxiliary Legion Helped fundraise for FBLA Community Service Project 2020-2021 Volunteered at events hosted by Salvation Army all throughout high school Volunteered at YMCA fun nights all throughout high school Volunteered at Haunted Forest Crew (5 hours) Volunteered at the Freshman Orientation 2021-2022 Volunteered at the Freshman Orientation 2022-2023

Abiah George is from Aberdeen, SD, located within Northern Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Avery West Photo

Avery West

November 27, 2022 - December 3, 2022

School
Langford Area High School (6054936454)
GPA
3.6
Activities
Avery West is an exceptionally bright, caring young woman. I have had the pleasure of teaching Avery for four years, but have known her for her entire life. Avery is one of the top students in her class. I had her as a student in 8th Math, Algebra I, Geometry, & Algebra II. She is a very responsible student, always having her work done on time with high accuracey. Avery is always willing to help her classmates with anything, often she was helping them understand the material that was being taught. Avery is also very active within the community, helping teach Sunday School at our local church. Avery is also active at school outside of the classroom in volleyball, chorus, band, student council, and the school play just to name a few. Avery is a great role model for our younger students to model themselves after. This year she is doing an intership down in the Elementary School, helping teachers and students. Avery plans on majoring in Elementary Education at Northern State University this fall. Avery West is one of the most caring, big hearted students that I have seen in my 23 years as an educator. She is also very mature & goal driven for a student of her age. Avery is also a great leader. She often "straightens" out her fellow classmates when they start to get off course. Avery can always be found wearing a big smile to accommodate her caring personality. Avery will be missed by all of the staff at Langford Area School when she graduates. For all of these reasons I highly recommend Avery West for this scholarship.

Avery West is from Langford, SD, located within Lake Region Electric Association, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Sam Hofer Picture

Sam Hofer

November 20, 2022 - November 26, 2022

School
Bridgewater Emery (605-449-4271)
GPA
4.02
Activities
Sam is involved in football, basketball, track, student council, journalism, National Honor Society, and church youth group. Sam is also a mentor in our school's mentor-mentee program and he was most recently selected as a Character on Track student. Sam is a 4.0 student who has challenged himself academically by taking a rigorous course schedule including 15 college credits through one semester of his senior year. Sam had a tough start to his senior year as he was our starting quarterback and the 2nd game of the season he broke his tibia and fibula in a game ending his senior football season. Sam was being recruited to play collegiate football so this was a tough injury physically and mentally. However, Sam accepted it like a very strong man and is progressing in his recovery and will be on the basketball floor this winter. Sam's character during this trying time was inspiring for all - no excuses, no feeling sorry for himself and he served as an encouraging peer coach on the sidelines.

Sam Hofer is from Bridgewater, SD, located within Southeastern Electric Coop, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

Sydney Boersma picture

Sydney Boersma

November 13, 2022 - November 19, 2022

School
Elkton High School (6055422541)
GPA
3.68
Activities
Activities: 4-H, FFA, FCCLA, Volleyball Stats, Youth Group Accomplishments: • 2021-2022 FFA Chapter Secretary • 2022-2023 FFA Chapter President • FCCLA Chapter officer • 4-H club secretary • Certified Nursing Assistant • 3rd place Prepared Public Speaking at District 2 LDE for FFA • Girls State - States Attorney • 2022 FFA Leadership Retreat • Student Leadership Academy • Livestock Demonstration at Minnesota State Fair Community Service • FFA Road Ditch Cleanup • Central State Fair Grounds Cleanup • Tie blankets for local food shelf • FFA Ag Adventure Center Volunteer • St. Francis House Volunteer • The banquet Volunteer • Judge's Assistant • 4-H Road Ditch Cleanup • Project day Volunteer • Canteen Volunteer • FCCLA Santa Days • Volunteer to teach the youth about Livestock

Sydney Boersma is from Aurora, SD, located within Sioux Valley Energy, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.