Awards given to Rising Star contest winners

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Our 12th annual Rising Star of the West scholarship contest is in the books.
We announced our winners Tuesday and Wednesday we handed out the checks to the students.
We gave a total of $7,500 in scholarships from Black Hills FOX and Granite Automotive.

Ireland Larsen

Douglas High School senior Ireland Larsen was the big winner this year.
She was picked by a combination of your scores and the scores of our Black Hills FOX panel and heads off to Drake University with a $4,000 scholarship.

Larsen says, "So going all through it, all the speeches, just the preparation -- it was just really fun. It was also engaging because I asked my family members what I was going to do, and my friends. So I really had a lot of help and it was awesome."

Central High School senior Abbi Baker finished in second place this year.
That earns her a $2,000 scholarship as she head off to the University of Wyoming.

Baker says, "The whole experience was honestly just so amazing for me. I got to spend time with my family and discuss very important issues within our community. And honestly it was just very eye-opening and very fun."

Third place in this year's contest went to St. Thomas More High School senior Aislinn Duffy.
She's heading to Augustana University in the fall with a $1,000 scholarship.

Duffy says, "Oh it was a great experience. Obviously there were a lot of really great competitors and it was really fun just to have the opportunity to, you know, be on TV and kind of speak my mind. Yeah, and it was definitely a really fun experience."

And our fourth place finisher this year was Red Cloud High School junior Dorian Sage.
He has another year of high school to go but he'll have a $500 scholarship waiting when it's time for college.
Again, we want to congratulate and thank all of this year's contestants.
It was another impressive group.