Character Counts! Scholarship

About the Scholarship

2020 Scholarship Deadline: Friday, May 8

The Big Sky State Games has teamed up with the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition and Kenco Security and Technology to recognize the importance of sportsmanship and character in Montana student athletes. CHARACTER COUNTS! is a nonprofit organization striving to improve the character of today’s youth. It is based on common ethical values that transcend political, religious, socio-economic, and cultural differences. Called the “Six Pillars of Character,” these values are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Character Counts! Scholarship is sponsored by Kenco Security and Technology.

Over the past twelve years, the Big Sky State Games has awarded the Character Counts! Scholarship to outstanding Montana female and male student-citizen-athletes involved in the Big Sky State Games. The scholarship can be used for any secondary education after high school. This includes trade schools and community colleges.

Only high school juniors during the 2019-2020 school year are eligible for this scholarship. This is to ensure that fellow students can observe the scholarship winners during their senior year and to recognize the traits the students show. You can download the application application below. It will also be available at all Montana High Schools Guidance Counselor offices.

CDownload Scholarship Form

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About the 2019 Winners

The Big Sky State Games has selected Sam George of Senior High School, Emily Poole of Huntley Project High School, Audrey Sipler of Big Sandy High School, and Jessica Swandal of Billings Central Catholic School as the recipients of the 2019 Big Sky State Games Character Counts! Scholarship. The $500 scholarship winners were recognized at the 34th Annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies event Friday, July 19.

The winners were selected based on their character, community involvement, and participation in sports. Character Counts! promotes sportsmanship and fosters good character by teaching, enforcing, advocating, and modeling, the "Six Pillars of Character": trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship


Sam George

Sam George competed in the Big Sky State Games 3 v 3 soccer in 2016. He is a member of Billings Senior High Honor Roll and the National Honors Society. Sam has played Varsity soccer for three years at Senior High School. He volunteers for the Magic City Classic Soccer tournament and the Montana Cleanup.


Emily Poole

Emily Poole has participated in Big Sky State Games Track and Field for ten years, Volleyball for 7 years, and Swimming for one year. Emily volunteers as a volleyball coach, basketball coach, and helps with her high school's clean-up day. She is involved in volleyball, basketball and track and field at Huntley Project High School. Emily is a part of National Honor Society, Student Council, and is an academic all-state selection.


Audrey Sipler

Audrey Sipler has participated in the Big Sky State Games dance competition for six years. She is a member of the Big Sandy Honor Roll, Honor Band, and Academic All-State for cheerleading. Audrey volunteers at the local hospital and teaches dance to young children in her community


Jessica Swandal

Jessica Swandal is a nine year Big Sky State Games participant in the Figure Skating competition. She is a coach for the Figure Skating Club in Billings. Jessica is also a cheerleader for Billings Central High School. She volunteers at her church and has been on two missions where she demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities.


Previous Winners

 Year Name City
2018 Devin Amtmann Huntley Project
  Karter Bernhardt Billings
  Loren Murphy Huntley Project
  Shea Dolan Billings
  Hannah Hirschi Billings
2017 Maysen Whitney Billings
  Madison Gilsdorf Billings
  Makenzy Gilsdorf Billings
  Skyler Robinson Baker
2016 Cory Kistler Huntley Project
  Mick Mattie Billings
  Kelsey Kraft Laurel
  Hailey Poole Colstrip
2015 Spencer Drange Laurel
  Jacob Michels Shepherd
  Hannah Amtmann Butte
  Abbigail Lohof Laurel
2014 Madison McLaughlin Helena
  Solenn Jacobsen Baker
  Wylie Leo Ennis
  Michael Buster Laurel
2013 Mikaela Robinson Billings
  Sara Heard Billings
  James Riley Broadus
  Logan Laird Billings
2012 Ashton McLaughlin Helena
  Martha Dembek Winnett
  Michael Schwehr Lavina
  Nick Staffileno Billings
2011 Alain Jacobsen Baker
  Zach Holmes Billings
  Brianna Jo Robinson Billings
  Emily Grace Walker Huntley
2010 Lindsey Fleming Billings
  Taylor Kufeld Billings
  Ryan Hensleigh Colstrip
  Anthony Bengochea Nashua
2009 Ashley Crowe Billings
  Kacie Chatwood Billings
  Thomas Bonogofsky Belfry
  Thomas Staffileno Billings
2008 Cord Blanchard Great Falls
  Emily Carroll Billings
  Kylie Medicine Horse Pryor
  Tim Kienitz Billings
2007 Auriele Fain Billings
  Casey Rogers Billings
    Stephanie Stremcha Havre
  Rick Haluszka Harlem
2006 Bridgett Hoenke Billings
  Leo Davis Billings
2005 Ashley Grammens Lavina
  Chad McMillan Billings
2004 Alexa McLaughlin Helena
  Josh Hedge Billings
2003 Allison Peterson Sidney
  Chris Blanchard Great Falls
2002 Sara Patterson Great Falls
  Patrick Riley Bozeman
2001   Hannah Warfield   Sidney
    Shane Hensleigh   Colstrip
2000   Jenny Doely   Billings
    Jeff Graham   Chester