||Melanie Ottenbacher, Selby Area School
||Nominated by: Robin Jung and Mark Sampson
||Excerpts from Melanie's Nominee Information Form:
- almost 400 hrs of community service in the past 2 years
- Co-founder of the SD Anti-Tobacco Education Board
- Teens Against Tobacco Use - working with elementary children active
- active in her church - choir, Sunday School teacher
- represented SD in Israel, Jordan, France, Spain, and Morocco through
the Hugh O-Brian Youth Leadership Award
- band, piano, chorus, Girl's State, FHA, track, volleyball
- Melanie plans to begin her pre-med coursework next fall
||Kerry Konda, Sisseton School
||Nominated by: Teresa Meland and Tom Jastram
||Excerpts from Kerry's Nominee Information Form:
- a very conscientious young man who has been and continues to be an
asset to my class and my club; has demonstrated his leadership abilities,
...promotes his goodwill be being active in community service projects.
- National Honor Society Member; 2002 Voice of Democracy district
winner; 2002 Boys State representative; 4 yr member of FBLA (Future Business
Leaders of America); 4 yr member of IMPROV(a group that performs skits to
help kids deal with and discuss troubled situations.
- Teens against tobacco use at Sisseton High; honor roll all 4 years of
- To summarize, Kerry is an intelligent, hard working, and friendly
individual whom people trust and admire.
||Dena Steward, Northwestern High
||Nominated by: Roberta Eisenbeisz and Ray Sauerwein
||Excerpts from Dena's Nominee Information Form:
- Dena is confident and self assured without being arrogant or
boastful. She sets very high goals and is not afraid to work hard at
achieving them. Her strength and desire to succeed come from her strong
faith. Dena "Walks the Talk: and is a positive role model to other
- Straight A Honor Roll all 4 years of high school; strong background
in science and math; Her achievements are not limited only to academics -
she also excels in writing, speaking, art and music. Dena would like to
become a missionary after college.
|| Kelli Hammer, Northwestern High School
||Nominated by: Roberta Eisenbeisz and Ray Sauerwein
||Excerpts from Kelli;s Nominee Information Form:
- Kelli demonstrates trustworthiness, honesty and concern for others.
She has demonstrated great leadership abilities. promotes goodwill by being
active in community service projects.
- Received the Girl Scout Gold award and Silver award due to extensive
- Received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence.
- Participates in track, volleyball, band, chorus, oral interpretation,
journalism and school play, has been a religious education teacher, assisted
at youth summer camps - all of this while still maintaining a 4.0 grade
- She graduates as a Regent Scholar.
|| Sarah Heilman - Aberdeen Central High
||Nominated by: Char Ackerman and Jan Palmer
||Excerpts from Sarah's Nominee Information Form:
- Sarah is an outstanding academic student, she has provided much
leadersip to Central's extracurricular activities, and she lives by her
values which includes service to others.
- Extra curricular and community activities include Brown County Teen
Court member, Keystone National Honor Society membership, Gifted Education,
Environmental Club, LINK-Crew Member, Girls' Connection, Science Quiz Bowl
team member, and volunteer Connection She has also been very involved in
CHS SADD chapter by serving as their president and secretary.
- Sarah has taught 1st grade Sunday School, worked wtih the Moose Youth
Awareness Program, and worked on Relay for life. She has done SEARCH church
retreats, served as a peer tutor, Sertoma Club Festival of Lights, assisting
with Boys Scouts, collecting donations for Safe Harbor and raising money for
the March of Dimes.
- Sarah is one of those exceptional young women who managed to balance
her education, volunteer activities and school activities and excel in all
that she does.
- Sarah ranks 5 out of 266 seniors at Central
||Hannah Wickard - Ipswich High School -
||nominated by Jordan Tolton and Trent Osborne
||excerpts from Hannah's nomination form:
- Hannah is an honest student who is always willing to help out her
classmates when they have problems with assignments. A positive role model
- active in many extracurricular activities both school and non-related.
- Involved in several sports and clubs
- She is a leader
- volunteers as church nursery worker, church multimedia technician, youth
Bible study leader, church"kids for Missions" teacher 2 years; preschool
Bible School teacher 4 years, 6th grade basketball coach
||Eric Hout - Aberdeen Central High School -
||nominated by Jan Palmer and Jason Uttermark
||excerpts from Eric's nomination form:
- Eric has provided much leadership and has won numerous awards for
achievement in both academics and activities.
- Eric ranks first in his high school; has earned a "5" on AP exam, which
is the highest possible score.
- Eric has given approximately 525 hours of community service though out
his high school years to Brown County Teen Court; Aberdeen Humane Society,
Safe Harbor, St. Paul's Youth Group, SADD; volunteer connection, Salvation
Army, Special Olympics Bowling, Kids Speak Youth Forum, Keystone Honor
Society, Drama Club, Environmental Club, Living Christmas Tree and the list
goes on and on.
- Eric says his primary goal is to help people in any and every way
possible. Eric wishes to focus the rest of his life on helping others.
||Olivia Hollan - Aberdeen Central High School
||nominated by Charles Hermansen
|excerpts from Olivia's nomination form:
- outstanding student, honest, hard working, intelligent, kind and very
enthusiastic about math and science.
- what sets this person apart from the rest of the students is her work
ethic, preparation and attitude.
- Member of the school golf team, SADD and Future Problem Solvers, leader
of many other activities. She has organized quiz bowl matches and a program
to send aid to Africa. Very active in her church youth group organizing
many service activities.. While doing all of this she still ranks in the
top 5% of her class.
Amanda J Finley - Northwestern Area High School
||nominated by Denise Clemens
- Very dedicated student. Challenges herself and others in choosing a
rigorous course of study while continuing to maintain an outstanding FPA. A
take charge person.
- top of her class, especially in the area of science.
- volunteers her free time and even her lunch hour to help the younger
students understand their research projects.
- An active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle helping
other students lead lives of character and integrity.
||Austin Eggers - Rosholt High School
||nominated by Patrick Schuette
|excerpts from Austin's nomination form:
- a leader in and out of the classroom. Positive role model for younger
students and his peers alike giving freely of his time to just talk or
- work ethic is commendable. He is self directed and creative in planning
and organizing tasks.
- community service is important part of this person's life. - such as
playing piano at church every week and on special religious holidays; plays
taps for military funerals in the area; helped clean up the local park and
helped with a local blood drive. This person has won awards at spelling
bees, oral interpretation, band and lettered in various sports. This person
has his own lawn mowing business and helps out at the family business.
Rebecca Gaikowski - Waubay High School
||nominated by Donna Herrick
||excerpts from Rebecca's nomination form:
top academic student in her class and one of the most respected members of her
class. Strong organizational skills - strong leader in high school.
strong sense of commitment, desire to succeed, and the motivation to accomplish
her goals. Faithful and trustworthy to her friends, dedicate to school and
work, and sincere to her ambitions.
Rebecca is active in volleyball, basketball and track. Drama Club, W Club,
national Honor Society, Band, Chorus, Play, Student Council, FFA, Oral
Interpretation and is President of the senior class. In the summer she is nanny
for 2 sets of twin boys, ages 5 and 2.
Rebecca is a lector at her church and a member of the youth group. She is also
a member of the Webster swim team and the local 4H club.
2013 Jenna Duncan - Northwestern School-Mellette, SD
Nominated by Denise Clemens
excerpts from Jenna's nomination form:
Ranks in the top 3rd of her class, challenging herself academically as well as
athletically in choosing a rigorous course of study, while continuing to maintain an outstanding
GPA. this person if responsible, loyal and a dedicated individual. This person's
true character is found in
how she dedicates herself to extra curricular activities. She is active in
various activities such as volleyball, track, band, future business leaders of America, Fellowship of
Christian Athletes, Tri-Parish Youth group and various missions trips. She does volunteer
younger teams at different events and helps lead charitable events such as food
drives, mission trips and community work. She volunteers part of her
study hall to work with a 6th grade student on his physical therapy 2-3 times a week.
2015 Lydia Wieger -
Waubay High School-Waubay, SD
Nominated by Donna Herrick
excerpts from Kayla's nomination form:
This student works very hard and has maintained a 3.65 GPA
average while being enrolled in 2 duel credit college classes plus working part
time. In addition to her studies, this student is active in extra activities and community service. She is a member of the National Honor
Society, student council, and Sr. class officer. She collects Toys for
Tots and assisted with 3 community blood drives. Achievements include
local and regional snow queen, HOBY representative, Girls state representative 2014-2015 hometown hero and 2014 homecoming queen. Community activities
are almost as numerous as her high school
actives. She is active in
church youth groups, Sunday school and vacation bible school teacher, participates in a weeklong mission trip with
her church to México. She has scheduled another mission trip
IL where she will work in soup
kitchens to serve the homeless of the Chicago area.
This young lady says
her childhood was different from her classmates. Beings her parents were
missionaries, she lived in Africa until the age of 11. As a young age she
knew she wanted to work with children because she saw the hardships and
struggles of children in Africa.
Therefore her college plans are to get a
degree in Early childhood Development.
2016 Samantha Raile - Eureka High School - Eureka, SD
Nominated by Anne Jo Erdmann
excerpts from Samantha's nomination form:
This student is involved in many school related
activities (sports, music, STEM, FCA) as well as very involved with her church -
while still maintaining a 38 average during her high school years. As one
person put it - they have always been impressed with her abilities but in
addition to those abilities, they have also been impressed by her personality
and character. A very honorable young lady with great integrity and a
bubble personality and great sense of humor. She has demonstrated leadership
and teamwork skills. She has high expectations for herself and able to
reach those goals through hard work and extra time College plans are to go into
the medial field and possibly having her own Physical Therapy clinic someday.
2017 Jenna Larson - Waubay School - Waubay, SD
Nominated by Donna Herrick