Character Counts! Scholarship

About the Scholarship

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 2017-2018 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 or complete an online application below. It will also be available at all Montana High Schools Guidance Counselor offices.

Download 2018 Scholarship Form

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About the 2018 Winners

The Big Sky State Games has selected Hannah Hirschi of Skyview High School, Devin Amtmann of Butte High School, Shea Dolan of Billings West High School, Loran Murphy of Huntley Project High School, and Karter Bernhardt of Billings West High School as the recipients of the 2018 Big Sky State Games Character Counts! Scholarship. The $500 scholarship winners will be recognized at the 33rd Annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies event Friday, July 20. The winners were chosen based on their character, community involvement, and participation in sports. By embracing CHARACTER COUNTS! the Big Sky State Games has taken a proactive approach to building character through athletics.

This year a fifth scholarship was added to be awarded in memory of BSSG Board Member Emeritus, Olympian and Montana’s First Female Governor- Judy Martz. 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.


Devin Amtmann

Devin Amtmann has participated in Big Sky State Games Swimming for nine years, Judo for nine years, and Triathlon for one year. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society. Devin participates in high school volleyball, swimming, tennis and softball. She has earned Academic All-State in tennis for one year, swimming for three years, and volleyball for one year. Devin volunteers for the Special Olympics, the Butte Judo Club, the local Food Bank and as a tutor in her high school.


Karter Bernhardt

Karter Bernhardt has participated in Big Sky State Games Dance Sport State for nine years, almost as long as his ten years of clogging. He has earned multiple State Games medals and Overall High Point honors. In high school he participated in football for one year and track and field for two years. Karter has a 4.60 GPA and is in the West High School Platinum Program. In 2010, he was named the Billings Studio Theatre Debut Actor of the Year. He participates in Student Council serving as Secretary, Academic Bowl, Science Bowl as a captain, Symphonic Band, and Environmental Club. Karter’s volunteer experience includes: Billings Youth Leadership Council, many local dance performances including Relay For Life, MT Fair, and Springfest.


Shea Dolan

Shea Dolan is a three year Big Sky State Games participant in both Basketball and Track and Field. She also has been a volunteer for the Opening Ceremonies for three years helping the Billings Clinic. Shea is involved in a variety of service projects and student clubs including: Key Club, Spanish Club, and National Honor Society. Some of her most notable accomplishments have been earning the YMCA Principal’s Youth Leadership Award twice, receiving the Principal’s Award at West High School, and was selected for the Winning with Integrity Program (WIP). She was also invited to the National Student Leadership Conference in 2017 & 2018. Shea has earned Academic All State in both varsity basketball and softball every year since her freshman year.


Hannah Hirschi

Hannah Hirschi has competed in the Big Sky State Games for six years in Triathlon and four Swimming. She has earned Academic All-State in cross country, swimming and track and field. Hannah’s volunteer work has included volunteering at the Billings Clinic since the eighth grade where she works in the cardiac rehab center. She also volunteers for Run For Heaven’s Sake.


Loran Murphy

Loran Murphy has participated in Big Sky State Games Volleyball for four years and Basketball for two years. She is involved in volleyball, basketball and track and field at Huntley Project High School. Loran is a representative for 4-H where she was Historian for two years, Vice President for two years and President for one year. She was awarded the Willingness to Help Award for three years. Loran has earned Academic All-State in volleyball for three years, basketball for three years and track and field for two years. She helped lead her volleyball team to State Championship in 2017.

Previous Winners

 Year Name City
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