The Black Hills Stock Show Foundation has awarded 16 scholarships to 2021 graduating seniors.
Each applicant is considered on their school and community involvement and they write an essay titled “Advancing My Western Heritage Through Continuing Education and Career.” See more at bhssf.com.
Kevin Casey Memorial Scholarship (Vo-Tech School)
Myles Clements will graduate from Philip High School. He is the son of Tom and Lacey Clements. He is involved in football, rodeo, FFA, choir, and 4-H.
Over the years, Clements has volunteered around his community in various activities such as refereeing and announcing junior high football games, upkeep of the rodeo grounds, sandbagging to help protect Philip from the 2019 flood, and several other projects.
His high school English teacher stated that Clements has learned the importance of good communication both verbally and non-verbally. She also wrote, “Myles understands the importance of being a reliable student and how establishing good habits now will benefit him in the future both as a college student and an adult in the workforce.”
In his essay, he wrote, “The older I’ve gotten the more I have learned to appreciate my western heritage and where I come from. Coming from a western background and rural community, I’ve learned to not take our heritage for granted because fewer people are involved with this lifestyle.”
Clements plans to attend Mitchell Tech and pursue a career in the electrical field.
Camri Elshere is the daughter of Ryan and Chrissy Elshere and will graduate from Wall High School.
Her math teacher wrote, “I have known Camri to be a reliable student with an outstanding work ethic and honest in her academic studies. Camri has set lofty goals and has worked hard to achieve them.”
During high school she has been involved in rodeo, FCA, FFA, Friends of Rachel Club, 4-H, National Honor Society, cross country, student council and basketball. Elshere has held offices in FFA and National Honor Society, has been a state qualifier in high school rodeo, was a state 4-H rodeo place winner, and was a FFA national qualifier as an Agriculture Issues team member.
Her community service activities include, helping with the backpack program, renovation and maintenance of her local community hall and church, refereed and coached youth basketball, and more.
Elshere wrote, “My focus on family and God will help me to always challenge myself to be a better person and to always go throughout life treating people with kindness and helping out people in need.”
She plans to pursue a degree in dental hygiene at Sheridan College.
John Piroutek, the son of Mike and Faye Piroutek is a senior at Philip High School. He plans to attend Mitchell Technical Institute to become a power lineman.
He is a member of National Honor Society, FFA, student council, choir, and the football team. Piroutek has several district and state FFA awards and recognitions. He is also active in youth group, his church, and is a member of the Milesville Fire Department. Piroutek is a blood donor and has helped with several blood drives, helped in various places during the flood of 2019, helps with clean up and maintenance of the local cemetery and his church, among other things.
His agriculture teacher and FFA advisor wrote, “John has shown excellent character throughout the time I have known him. He always shows up to class ready to work, willing to learn new topics, completing schoolwork on time and willing to spend his free time on projects.”
Piroutek concluded his essay with, “it is important for me to remember that this heritage is not mine to own, it is just mine while I do my part to advance it. It has been passed down by countless generations before me, who all did their part.”
Milo Rypkema Memorial Scholarship
Laney Mackaben will graduate from Belle Fourche High School and is the daughter of Chad and Shawnie Mackaben.
In her essay she wrote, “My western heritage is more than the physical memorabilia from a time past. It is a reminder that in acknowledging my roots and learning those practices, I can formulate my future with a sturdy support system, an intellectual tool chest of experience, determination and try. It is learning from the past to improve the future while keeping those memories and legacies alive.”
Her activities include FFA, National Honor Society, 4-H Junior Leaders, youth representative on Butte Conservation Board, Purple Pride, church, and senior citizen center volunteer. Mackaben has youth representative on Butte Conservation Board, Purple Pride, church, and senior citizen center volunteer. She has been an officer in both 4-H and FFA and has many high placings in judging contests in both organizations, including several first-place finishes. Mackaben volunteers in many community service areas with her 4-H, FFA, and honor society groups.
Her school counselor said this: “Laney is an outstanding leader both in the classroom and outside the classroom.” He also stated that she puts her best efforts into her coursework no matter what the subject is and that she is consistent and willing to be a lifelong learner.
BHSS Foundation Category I Scholarships
Madison Weishaar is the daughter of Shawn and Sarah Weishaar. She will graduate from Lemmon High School.
Her activities include National Honor Society, FFA, church and youth group, student council, and 4-H, drama, journalism, volleyball, and basketball. She holds or has held offices in all the organizations that she is involved with. Weishaar has many top three placings in various FFA and 4-H competitions.
Her agriculture teacher said, “Madison is true to her beliefs and exhibits leadership characteristics in everything she does.”
She also stated that Weishaar has been very instrumental in developing lessons about agriculture to be used in elementary classrooms and taught a lesson at our local farm safety day. She has spent many hours volunteering in various areas such as delivering meals, cards, and flowers to elderly, helping with activities at the rodeo grounds, and many more.
In Weishaar’s essay she wrote, “The agricultural industry needs a voice – spokesperson with credibility and charisma, someone who commands attention, an evangelist for agriculture. I want to be that person; a reliable, credible, and personable advocate that defends the integrity of farmers and ranchers and effectively refutes the misinformation that comes from anti-agriculture groups.”
She plans to attend South Dakota State University and pursue a degree in agricultural communications.
Mitchell Vanderwal is a senior at Northwestern High School in Mellette, South Dakota. He is the son of Jeff and Beth VanderWal.
Vanderwal holds the office of president of student council, region and chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), FFA chapter and past district, county Junior 4-H Leaders, and was the past 4-H club president. He is also involved in football, track and field, robotics, band, quiz bowls, chorus, drama, youth group, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He placed second in National FFA Agriscience Animal Systems and has many other district, state and national awards in FFA, 4-H, FBLA, Robotics, drama, and various livestock shows in showmanship and judging competitions.
Vanderwal plans to attend South Dakota State University and major in agriculture education and communication.
He wrote in his essay, “All in all, the best way to advance my western heritage lies within education itself. Teaching the future generation of local, national, and global demographics about midwestern heritage, will continue the legacy we know and love for generations to come.”
His agriculture teacher said, “Mitchell is passionate about agriculture and seizes every opportunity available to him to increase his knowledge and skill level. He is not afraid of failure and works diligently to do his best in all his endeavors.”
Vanderwal volunteers in his community through the organizations he is involved with including blood drives, food drives, fundraisers, and many other projects.
Brady Buchholz is the son of Steve and Sandy Buchholz and will graduate from Sturgis Brown High School.
The student services officer at his high school wrote this about Buchholz, “A few words that I would use to describe Brady are honest, determined, kind, motivated, and humble.”
He is involved in National Honor Society, cross country, track, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4-H, Meade County Junior Leaders, church, and youth group. He has held offices in several of the organizations that he is involved with and volunteers in his community by helping with church activities, food drives, Special Olympics skiing/track and field events, county fair activities, and many more.
Buchholz plans to seek a career in engineering, design, and machining at South Dakota School of Mines.
During high school Buchholz took on a project converting an old motorcycle to be fully electric powered.
He wrote, “This motorcycle project was a humble tribute to my western heritage in the way that I took on a project that was out of my comfort zone, difficult, and all together frightening, similar to the way that my ancestors settled this particular part of the once untamed country. I imagine they had to do a fair share of troubleshooting themselves, as they traveled here, homesteaded, and created better lives for themselves and their families.”
Another one of his teachers wrote, “I have said of this young man, ‘Give me a room of young people like Brady and I could change the world’.”
Lauren Weishaar will graduate from Lemmon High School. She is the daughter of Shawn and Sarah Weishaar.
Her activities include National Honor Society, FFA, church, youth group, student council, 4-H, drama, journalism, and volleyball, holding offices in the organizations she is involved in. Weishaar volunteers in various capacities in her school and community including meal delivery for the elderly, planting trees, helping at the rodeo grounds with upkeep and concession stands, and more.
Her agriculture teacher had this to say about her: “Her sportsmanship and leadership extends from within to those around her. She is a team player that puts the needs of the group ahead of her own personal agenda.”
She has earned many high placings in FFA and 4-H competitions, placing first and second in several categories at the state level.
Weishaar will pursue a double major in animal science and agricultural communications from South Dakota State University.
She stated in her essay, “Through my future career, I plan to speak out about the misguided information being spread within the industry. Today there are many negative things said about the agricultural industries. These false truths and fake news spread like wildfire.”
Wyatt Olson is the son of Kim and Cliff Olson and will graduate from Jones County High School in Murdo, South Dakota.
When writing about his western heritage, Olson wrote, “It is all the extra lessons that I learned from my family and friends, like working hard and doing a job right the first time, the need to adapt to changing circumstances in order to succeed and understanding the true value of your word and reputation to name a few.”
Olson is involved in basketball, track, cross country, football, rodeo, FFA, band, drama, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, student council, National Honor Society, Turner Youth Group, church youth group, and 4-H. He has been class president for four years.
The Turner Youth Group, of which Olson is a member, is a local organization that is responsible for operating the local movie theater and many other volunteer projects. He also has helped with Meals on Wheels, blood drives, city wide and road clean ups, and many more activities.
Olson’s math teacher and track coach wrote, “Wyatt is a goal-oriented individual who works hard to improve himself and his community. I absolutely believe he has what it takes to be successful in his educational endeavors.”
He plans to attend South Dakota School of Mines and Technology where he will focus on obtaining a degree in pre-professional health services. Olson plans to continue his education in the chiropractic field and would also like to be able to work on horses.
BHSS Foundation Category II Scholarships
Jackson Grimes is a senior at Kadoka Area High School. He is the son of Levi and Elissa Grimes.
Grimes’s extra-curricular activities include football, basketball, rodeo, National Honor Society, youth group, 4-H and Badlands Cowboys for Christ Rodeo Bible Camp. He has earned many awards in sports, writing, and rodeo including state champion boys cutter and many AQHA recognitions.
Some of his volunteer activities include assisting elderly with exterior holiday decorating, working concession stands, maintenance at the rodeo grounds and more.
Grimes plans to obtain an engineering degree from South Dakota School of Mines.
He wrote, “Employers value people that know how to problem solve. Because of my western background I have learned how to problem solve and how to finish a task no matter what happens. This heritage has also shown me the value of simplicity.”
He continued by saying, “if a solution is too complex it will fail more often than not.”
His football coach wrote, “Our program focuses on positive and encouraging leadership. Leaders who put the needs of the team above their own and leaders who are willing to serve the needs of others. Jackson emulated these characteristics very well, because they came to him naturally.”
Brycen Cheney will graduate from Wall High School. His parents are Tommie and Taylor Mohnen.
Cheney is involved in FFA, National Honor Society, student council, football, basketball, golf, Wall Economic Development, church youth group and is senior class president.
One of his teachers wrote, “I have known Brycen for the past 12 years both inside and outside the school setting. Throughout all my experiences with him, he has proven himself an innovative and involved student. Not only does Brycen participate in school activities but he is also active in the community.”
Some of Cheney’s many community activities include backpack program, referee and run clock for junior high football and basketball, blood drives and Beef to School lessons for Kindergarteners, to name a few.
He plans to attend University of South Dakota to become a physician’s assistant.
Cheney ended his essay by writing, “The next time your grandpa or grandma, dad or mom, or perhaps just an acquaintance tells a story, listen. You might learn something, even if you don’t know what it is in that moment. It is your link with the past, so preserve your western heritage, and continue to build upon it.”
Madison Hofer is the daughter of Wayne and Kristi Hofer and a senior at Freeman High School.
The school councilor at Freeman High School wrote, “As a leader, she (Madison) serves as President of the FFA, 4-H, student council and her class. All these titles speak to the confidence that her classmates have in her abilities and devotion to service. Through her many accomplishments, Madison has demonstrated that she possesses a strong work ethic.”
Hofer has been involved in various community service projects including food pantry, nursing home and veteran’s hospital projects, and a Christmas toy drive. She is active in FFA, band, chorus, National Honor Society, drama, quiz bowl, golf and basketball statistician.
In her essay she wrote, “I plan on going to college at South Dakota State University and majoring in animal science with a science specialty. My major includes a science specialty because a branch of the veterinarian industry that has always interested me has been research and I hope to get a job in animal research. My ancestors always believed in helping your neighbor whenever possible and through becoming a vet I can help people on a much bigger scale. When I continue my education to become a vet and then my career as a veterinarian I will carry on the heritage of my ancestors and their principles.”
BHSS Foundation Category III Scholarships
Bobbi Kammerer, a senior at Philip High School, is the daughter of Joel and Jody Kammerer.
Her activities include basketball, rodeo, FFA, FCCLA, 4-H, pep club and student council. She has spent volunteer hours helping with blood drives, Feeding South Dakota, running the clock for junior high basketball and volleyball games, helping with wrestling tournaments, serving various community banquets and building nursing home bulletin boards.
She plans to obtain a nursing degree from Casper College.
In her essay she wrote about her involvement in organizations and extracurricular activities and how they helped to develop character and values, “It finally hit me (in seventh grade) that just showing up wasn’t going to be enough … The years of participation trophies and just being average were over. From that moment on, I knew that life would be hard.”
She concluded, “There will always be someone out there working towards improvement, and it might as well be me.”
Kammerer’s high school English teacher wrote that she takes suggestions and instructions seriously and has become a competent communicator.
“When it comes to character, Bobbi is respectful of her classmates, her teachers, and herself. She knows what she stands for and does not back down from those standards,” she said.
Brianna Smith will graduate from Jones County High School in Murdo, South Dakota. Her parents are Matt and Julie Smith.
Jones County’s volleyball coach wrote, “Brianna is involved and participates in many activities in and out of school. She is always gracious and willing to volunteer her time and talents. If she sees something that needs to be done, she doesn’t hesitate to do it.”
Some of her activities are band, basketball, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FFA, Jones County Turner Youth, Jones County Junior Leaders, journalism, National Honor Society, drama, 4-H, student council, youth group and volleyball.
She has earned many awards and recognitions the activities and organizations she is involved in and holds offices, also. Smith helps with many community service projects including church activities, food drives, refereeing junior high volleyball games, gun safety classes and elderly meal delivery.
She wrote in her essay, “College will be a big adjustment for me as I have lived in rural South Dakota my whole life. Getting my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and moving back to the family ranch would allow me to carry on the family legacy and continue the western lifestyle that I know and love.”
Taylor Grill is the daughter of Jeff and Diana Grill and will graduate from New Underwood High School.
She wrote, “I was taught to always work my hardest no matter what I was doing and to never leave or give up until the job was done. I believe it was these same morals, instilled into me at a young age, that saved my life after the loss of my left arm. Every time I tried to give up, there was that voice inside my head … ‘Stay tough girl, and don’t let up until the job is done.’”
Her extracurricular activities include National Honor Society, 4-H, volleyball, student council, drama, choir, band, church and youth group. She volunteers in her community by helping with food drives, picking up trash, planting flowers, visiting elderly and other various projects.
Grill has earned many awards in athletics, music, and 4-H and has held offices in the organizations she is involved with.
Her National Honor Society advisor wrote this about her: “She is an incredible young woman who excels academically and is a concerned local and global citizen who desires nothing more than to spread kindness.”
Grill plans to major in Animal Science at South Dakota State University and focus on a pre-veterinary career.
Paige Lehrkamp is a senior at Rapid City Central High School. Her parents are Michael Lehrkamp and Kori Lehrkamp.
She participates in FFA, 4-H, and the Conference of Youth Council Ministry, serving in several officer positions. She works in her community by helping with food drives, Feeding South Dakota, cleaning parks, fundraising for charitable organizations and many more.
Lehrkamp plans to attend South Dakota State University to study agriculture education, with the intention of teaching high school ag science.
She wrote in her essay, “I intend to go on to use this education to teach high school ag science and be an FFA advisor. As I continue to learn and grow in love and knowledge of the agriculture industry, as well as share this love and knowledge with new students and help other agriculture teachers strategically share their love and knowledge with students, I will continue to promote and grow my western heritage.”
The CHS academy coordinator wrote, “Paige has a good respect for education, understands its value and works daily to accomplish her educational goals. She works very well in peer situations, is a good leader, and motivates others to be their best.”