Rising Star winners awarded scholarships

Amanda Rothe
Amanda Rothe wins $4,000 scholarship.(KEVN/KOTA)
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 7:09 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - This is one of our favorite days of the year. This the day that we get to celebrate the winners in our Rising Star of the West Scholarship Contest.

And that means distributing a total of $7,500 in scholarships from Black Hills FOX and Monument Health. We announced who those winners were Tuesday night.

Douglas senior Amanda Rothe is this year’s Rising Star of the West and comes away with a $4,000 scholarship. She follows in the footsteps of her sister Melissa, who won the contest in 2020. Amanda wasn’t home Tuesday night when the results came in.

Rothe says, “I was at a baseball game and I had my mom send me a video of the news. So I was holding it up to my ear. I have a video of me reacting to it too, but it just goes ‘oh my goodness’. And that was basically the entire thing. And all the mom around me at the baseball game wanted to see it too.”

Amanda is planning to do her generals at Black Hills State and then move on to Martin Luther College in Minnesota to study education. Our second place finisher this year was Stevens senior Sydney Meissner, who comes away with a $2,000 scholarship. Sydney says the process was a bit nerve wracking.

Meissner says, “Both times I got to record I as definitely shaking and very nervous. And while it was a really long process, waiting and waiting and waiting and asking all my family and friends to vote for me, it’s all good in the end. It was definitely an interesting and fun learning experience.”

Sydney is heading to South Dakota State University, starting with interdisciplinary studies. Third place in this year’s contest went to Rapid City Christian senior Faith Stoddard. With that, Faith gets a $1,000 scholarship.

She says the experience of the contest was a good one. Faith says, “It was really fun. It was definitely new something I never thought I would do and pulled me out of my comfort zone. But it was a blast.”

Faith is heading to Grand Canyon University, majoring in forensic psychology. Our fourth place finisher this year was Stevens junior Serenity Johnson. She was the only non-senior in this year’s finals. Serenity says this is not something she’s done a lot of.

Serenity says, “I have not done a lot of public speaking before. I’ve been told I know how to talk a lot. I think this was super cool for me to get up here and get to share my wisdom with Rapid City and get to show them that a blind person can get up here and do it like the quote, unquote sighted kids, so yeah.”

Serenity plans to be a teacher for the blind and visually impaired.