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 eleven 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 2016-2017 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 2017 Scholarship Form

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About the 2017 Winners

The Big Sky State Games has selected Maysen Whitney of Billings Senior High School, Skyler Robinson of Baker High School, Madison Gilsdorf of Billings Senior High School, and Makenzy Gilsdorf of Billings Senior High School as the recipients of the 2017 Big Sky State Games Character Counts! Scholarship. The $500 scholarship winners will be recognized at the 32nd Annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies event Friday, July 14. 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.


Maysen Whitney

Maysen Whitney has competed in the Big Sky State Games for three years in soccer. Whitney has been a varsity athlete since her freshman year. Whitney's honors include: Academic All State from 2014-2017, Rookie of the Year in soccer, Sophomore of the Year in track, and Billings Senior High Outstanding Participation in Soccer in 2015. She is a 9-time All State track and field athlete. Whitney's volunteer work has included World Water Day, ColorFun Run, Super Hero Run, and Thunder Ridge Kennels. She routinely works with younger athletes to help them achieve their goals.


Madison Gilsdorf

Madison Gilsdorf has participated in Big Sky State Games Track and Field for eight years. She is a member of the Key Club, Stem Club, Senior Advocates, and Church Youth Group. Madison participates in high school soccer, cheerleading, and track and field. She has earned Academic All-State multiple times and is a recipient of the YMCA Principals Youth Leadership Award. Madison was chosen twice to represent Montana at the Hershey Track and Field North American Finals in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She has also been an active member of the Billings Gymnastics School for 11 years, competing as a level 8 gymnast.


Makenzy Gilsdorf

Makenzy Gilsdorf has participated in the Big Sky State Games for 3 years in Tennis and 1 year in Track and Field. She is involved in a variety of service projects and student clubs including: Key Club, Spanish Club, STEM Society, Senior Advocates, The Platinum Project, Educational Talent Search, and Tennis. Some of her most notable accomplishments have been in Key Club as President and in academics. Makenzy earned Academic All State for Tennis and she competed at AA State Tennis. She is a member of the Billings Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership and Team Black at the Billings Elks Center. As a high school student, Makenzy has earned a 4.0 (4.4 weighted) grade point average and is ranked number one in her class of 422.


Skyler Robinson

Skyler Robinson has participated in Big Sky State Games Track and Field for nine years and four years in Swimming. Robinson has been on the honor roll since the fall of 2013. She is involved in track and field and volleyball at Baker High School. Robinson has been a Student Council Representative, Student Council District 6 President, Student Union Representative, and the Student Union Treasurer. She is a representative for Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), a Close Up member, and volunteers for numerous community and high school programs

Previous Winners

 Year Name City
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   Sydney
    Shane Hensleigh   Colstrip
2000   Jenny Doely   Billings
    Jeff Graham   Chester