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Rising Star Contest finalists awarded scholarships

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:35 PM MDT
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We wrapped up this year’s Rising Star of the West Scholarship Contest earlier this week, crowning this year’s winners on Tuesday. And just leaves the fun part of the contest, handing out a total of $7,500 in scholarships from Black Hills FOX and Monument Health.

Wall High School senior Sierra Hilgenkamp was this year’s Rising Star of the West, chosen as the best by both the viewers and our Black Hills FOX panel. That earns Sierra a $4,000 scholarship.

Hilgenkamp says, “I was so excited. I really didn’t expect it so it was really cool. I put a lot of hard work into it so it just felt good to be able to accomplish it, get it finished and be successful and then be successful in the end.”

Sierra is heading to Sheridan College to study nursing and will be competing in rodeo there as well. Spearfish senior Halle Fjelland was our second place finisher this year. That’s earns her a $2,000 college scholarship.

Fjelland says, “It was definitely different. Being on camera is not something that I’m really used to. So having it right there in front of you, it kind of freaks you out a bit. But after doing a couple of them, you get more used to it. Especially, I used to do debate so that definitely prepared me a little bit for this and just the speaking aspect of that. So it was kind of an extension of that, which was kind of cool.”

Halle plans on studying engineering in college, but hasn’t yet decided where that will be. Our third place finisher this year was New Underwood senior Trynyty Krebsbach. That performance gets her a $1,000 scholarship.

Krebsbach says, “I would say it was a huge learning experience. I never realized how much the community could have an impact on you too, with voting and getting a lot of people to vote for you was really interesting.”

Trynyty is planning to go to Chadron State College and become an elementary school teacher and special education teacher. And our fourth place finisher this year is Hill City senior Mikennah Oleson. Mikennah will be heading off to college with a $500 scholarship.

Oleson says, “It was really fun. I mean it was super stressful and a new experience, like you’re getting completely out of your comfort zone. I really enjoyed it and I’m glad I did it.”

Mikennah will be heading to Augustana University with a double major in journalism and political science.