In addition to a short application, we asked seniors to submit a 30–60 second video answering the following prompt:
Tell us about a teacher, coach, counselor, or other mentor you admire. What impact has this person had on you? Give one to three examples of things you’ve learned from this person that you will take with you in the next stage of life.
Now, the time has come to meet this year’s winners and find out their answers to the application question:
Ben Kvale – Lincoln High School
Lincoln High School senior Ben Kvale is planning to attend the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for computer science. In his video, Ben chose to honor his piano teacher of 11 years, Jennifer, as a person he admires.
“Jennifer has taught me the value of challenging myself by encouraging me to learn harder piano pieces,” he said.
Ben also explained how she encouraged him to keep trying when facing challenges and taught him different learning approaches that he could translate from playing piano to using in school — two things that will help set him up for success in college.
Ethan Bruns – Sioux Falls Christian High School
Ethan made a video about his 2017 Little League World Series coach, Jeff. “When I first met him, it was very evident that he had a passion for what he was doing and cared about us as individuals,” Ethan said.
On top of positively impacting the community by generously giving his time and money, Jeff had an impact on Ethan’s life by teaching him the saying, “Forget about it and move on.”
Ethan, a soon-to-be graduate of Sioux Falls Christian High School, will take this advice with him as he attends the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for civil engineering.
Way to go, Ethan!
Haley Van Oeveren – O’Gorman High School
Following her graduation from O’Gorman High School, Haley plans to attend the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, for nursing — and she looks forward to taking the lessons she’s learned from one of her teachers with her.
“Two years ago, her son passed away, which has caused her lots of heartache and suffering,” Haley said of the teacher. “However, she always is supportive and encouraging.”
Furthermore, Haley says this teacher has taught her the value of developing good relationships and showing love to others, which is important for Haley as she enters the field of nursing.
Great work, Haley!
Jada Sandvall – Lincoln High School
Jada, a senior at Lincoln High School, chose to make a video about her volleyball coach and mentor of six years, Emily.
“Emily is a Spanish teacher at Whittier Middle School, in which I have learned a fair share of lessons both on the court and in the classroom,” Jada said. She then outlined two specific traits of Emily’s that resonate most with her: “dedication and passion for all she does.”
Although Jada’s future plans have changed a lot over the past six years, she is grateful for Emily’s continuing support and guidance as she prepares to study kinesiology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Well done, Jada!
Kaylor Geraets – Chester Area High School
Kaylor is planning to attend South Dakota State University for elementary education following her graduation from Chester Area High School, which is why she chose to honor Mrs. Biagi, an elementary school teacher in Chester, as a mentor she admires.
“She was my third and fourth grade teacher, and I have been her teacher’s aide for the last couple of years,” Kaylor said. “She makes the school atmosphere and learning new concepts something that every kid enjoys every day.”
Ultimately, Kaylor credits Mrs. Biagi’s impact on her life as the reason she plans to become a teacher, and she hopes to bring the passion and love for teaching that Mrs. Biagi instilled in her to her future classroom.
Good luck, Kaylor!
Thank you to all of our applicants this year, and congratulations to our five winners — we can’t wait to see what you do next!