Black Hills Stock Show Foundation names winners of 2019 scholarships |

Black Hills Stock Show Foundation names winners of 2019 scholarships

Jaciee Williams

Black Hills Stock Show Foundation announces scholarship winners

Each year the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation awards scholarships to graduating seniors across the region. These scholarships are given in five categories.

Category I is a $4,000 scholarship payable in two segments over two years. Recipients are: Sawyer Naasz, Platte-Geddes High School; Marcus Herber, Kadoka Area High School; Molly Ryan, Belle Fourche High School; Whitley Heitsch, Rapid City Central High School; Madison Moody, Sandborn Central High School; and Jaicee Williams, Wall High School.

Category II is a $2,000, one-year scholarship. These scholarships will go to Hunter Haberman, Menno High School and Sage Gabriel, Philip High School.

Category III is a $1,000 scholarship that goes to a student entering an accredited technical institute or a two-year community college. The 2019 winner of this scholarship is Conner Edelman of Menno High School.

There are Category IV and V scholarships that are yet to be awarded. Category IV is a $1,000 scholarship that goes to two high school seniors invited to compete in the 20X Rodeo. The Category V scholarship is for $1,000 and will be awarded to two South Dakota High School Rodeo Association State Finals qualifiers.

Sawyer Naasz

Sawyer Naasz is a senior at Platte-Geddes High School. Her parents are Tim and Sandy Naasz.

Sawyer’s extra-curricular activities include 4-H, FFA, National Honor Society, basketball, volleyball, track, softball, drama, band, and choir. She has received several placings in speaking and judging in region, state, and national FFA, Simmental Show, and 4-H competitions. Sawyer is on the A honor roll, is a three-sport letter winner, has several band honors, shows cattle, and was the 2015-16 SD Simmental Queen. She currently holds the offices of FFA chapter secretary and SD Junior Simmental Assoc. president. Some of Sawyer’s community service activities include adopt a highway, food drives, school supply drives, blood donor, and more.

Sawyer will attend Butler Community College to begin her education with the goal of becoming a veterinarian. She then plans to get certified to perform animal chiropractic and acupuncture. In her essay, Sawyer wrote, “With my decided path of education, I will directly be able to advance my western heritage through my career. I will be able to be involved with communities of producers to help advance their operations. It will be a very fulfilling career for me because I will be able to give back to the people who are the backbone of our country.”

Marcus Herber

Marcus Herber is the son of John and Lynn Herber of Kadoka, SD. He is senior at Kadoka Area High School. College plans include attending Chadron State College to attain a pre-vet degree and then continuing on to veterinary school. Marcus would then like to “move back home” where he can be close to the ranch and start his own veterinary business.

In his essay, Marcus wrote this about what he thinks his Western Heritage is, “It is working hard and earning what a person is given. It is having a love for the land and the animals that roam there. It is treating all your neighbors and friends as family.”

Marcus is on the A Honor Roll, in National Honor Society, and is on the student council. Extra-curricular activities include cross country, track, basketball, football, and choir. In the community, Marcus is involved in church activities, blood drives, and helping neighbors with various jobs.

Molly Ryan

Molly Ryan will be attending Northwestern College after graduating from Belle Fourche High School. Molly is the daughter of Tami and Scott Ryan.

Some of Molly’s high school honors are National Honor Society, Character All-Star, three-time SD State High School Rodeo qualifier, and many athletic honors. Molly has been active in soccer, cross country, rodeo, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, math and science club, track, band, 4-H, and youth group. She has helped with food drives, reading to kindergarteners, Special Olympics, Western Hills Humane Society, Operation Christmas Child, and several others.

A highlight of Molly’s life came last summer when she was able to go on a mission trip to the Ukraine. She wrote in her essay, “Going to the Ukraine allowed me to realize that I am passionate about helping youth.” She plans to pursue a degree in a field that will allow her to help children.

Whitley Heitsch

Whitley Heitsch is a senior at Rapid City Central High School. She is the daughter of Tom and Tracy Heitsch of Hermosa. In addition to attending high school, Whitley works at Brandt Performance Horses, doing daily chores and is a nanny in the summer months.

Whitley wrote in her essay, “I love to help people and I find no greater reward than helping people to feel better and improve their health, especially if that means I can provide those services in rural communities which have influenced my life greatly.” Whitley plans to attend Casper College and then continue on to become a Doctor of Chiropractic for humans and horses.

At school, Whitley is a student mentor in the Cobbler to Cobbler Mentor Program, a member of National Honor Society, a class officer, student council member, and basketball team member. She is also involved in 4-H and rodeo team as an officer and participant. Whitley has volunteered at several Special Olympics events, Range Days Rodeo, and many 4-H Club community service events

Madison Moody

Madison Moody is a senior at Sanborn Central High School and is employed at Sand Creek Animal Vet Clinic. She is the daughter of Perry and Tracy Moody of Letcher, SD. She plans to attend Black Hills State University to acquire a major in math education and a minor in biology.

Madison’s community service activities include VBS and Sunday school teacher, 4-H activities, special needs rodeo volunteer, blood drive organizer, visiting nursing homes, and several others. Volleyball, basketball, rodeo, drama, oral interpretation, chorus, band, student council, National Honor Society, 4-H, and FFA are on Madison’s list of extra-curricular activities. Madison has been a student council officer, state and national high school rodeo qualifier, SD High School Rodeo Assoc. officer, and state FFA ag sales qualifier. She has also competed in state basketball and volleyball tournaments.

Madison concluded her essay by stating, “I will use my future education in math as well as my minor in biology and my background in animal health to advance my own, my family’s, and my community’s western heritage. And with my small part, maybe I can also make the world a better place.

Jaicee Williams

Jaicee Williams will graduate from Wall High School and will continue her education at Dakota State University where she plans to play volleyball. She is the daughter of Marty and Rhonda Williams.

In high school, Jaicee has been active in rodeo, basketball, track, volleyball, and drama. She has received several local, region, state, and national awards and honors in scholastics, FFA, athletics, and 4-H. She is also a member of National Honor Society, Friends of Rachael Club (focuses on kindness/compassion in the school), and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Jaicee helps with the Backpack Program, blood drives, maintaining buildings and grounds at the arena, food drives, and many other activities.

Jaicee will be pursuing a biology degree, followed by graduate school to earn a degree in optometry. In her essay she states, “I want to become an optometrist because I recognize the shortage of optometrists in western South Dakota.” She continues, “Eye care, just like all other health care in western South Dakota, is facing critical shortages. Young people like myself need to be willing to return to our roots to meet the needs of those in western South Dakota.”

Hunter Haberman

Hunter Haberman is the son of Brent and Jill Haberman of Olivet, SD. Following graduation from Menno High School he will continue his education at South Dakota State University.

Hunter has been involved in his community by playing percussion in church praise band, serving at The Banquet, helping with gift giving to underprivileged children, participating in various Teens United in God community service projects, working jobs to raise money for Horse Power, helping with veteran’s projects, collecting for the food pantry, and several other activities. He was also part of the Day of Service at the National FFA Convention in 2015 and 2018. In high school, Hunter has participated in football, basketball, FFA, student council, FCA, National Honor Society, band, and drama. He has received honors and awards in football, rodeo, 4-H, state one act play, and quiz bowls. President, vice president, sentinel, treasurer, reporter, and secretary are all leadership offices Hunter has held in various organizations.

In his essay, Hunter wrote, “These organizations (4-H and FFA) have a very strong foundation in agriculture and taught me how important agriculture is to our community and the world. I believe 4-H, FFA, and being an officer in both of these organizations have helped me open my eyes to agriculture and how intertwined it is in local communities.”

Sage Gabriel

Sage Gabriel is a Philip High School senior. Her parents are Jeff and Heather Gabriel. In her essay titled “Advancing My Western Heritage Through Continuing Education and Career,” Sage wrote, “It’s a peaceful way of life, this western way, where the horses munch on the fresh dewed grass as morning comes to life.”

Sage is active in volleyball, basketball, 4-H, rodeo, FCCLA, FFA officer (current secretary), and Evangelical Free youth group. She is a class officer (secretary) and is on the “A” honor roll. Her community service projects include coat drives, 4-H recognition events, helping in the school lunchroom, doing activities at the nursing home, cleaning up the park, organizing fund raisers and supply drives for a domestic violence shelter, and many more. Sage is also the reigning Miss SD High School Rodeo Queen.

Sage wants to pursue her love of speaking and her roots with a major in speech communications and a minor in agricultural journalism from South Dakota State University. She plans to use her degree to become a spokesman for the western way of life so others can grasp what that kind of living is like. “My future is still unknown, but my background has taught me that one never stops learning and the western heritage never stops developing.” said Gabriel.

Connor Edelman

Conner Edelman is a senior at Menno Public School and is the son of Kevin and Lisa Edelman. He plans to continue his education at Lake Area Technical Institute where he will study precision agriculture and agri-business.

Conner states in his essay, “through my schooling at Lake Area Technical Institute, and my job following college, I will be able to advance my western heritage and follow in my grandpas’ and father’s footsteps and become the farmer and rancher that I have always wanted to be. Even then when I do begin to farm and ranch, I will always be continuing my education through new experiences.”

In high school, Conner has participated in band, basketball, chorus, FFA, football, drama, quiz bowls, student council, and parliamentary procedure. Conner’s awards and honors include class president, honor roll, FFA awards, letter winner, and other student recognitions. In the community he is involved in youth group, Teens United in God, Harvest South Dakota, FFA National Day of Service, and other local volunteer activities. Conner also fills his time by working on various farms and ranches.

–Black Hills Stock Show Foundation


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