Character Counts! Scholarship

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About the 2021 Winners

The Big Sky State Games has selected Sierra Nagle of Circle High School, Dayton Magone of Billings West High School, Parker Friday of Billings Senior High School, Ryan Dolan of Billings West High School, and Bailey Graves of Laurel High School as the recipients of the 2021 Big Sky State Games Character Counts! Scholarship. The $500 scholarship winners will be recognized at the 36th Annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies event Friday, July 16.

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


Sierra Nagle

Sierra Nagle has competed in Big Sky State Games Volleyball events for four years. She plays varsity volleyball, basketball, track and field, earning Academic All-State for each sport for the past three years at Circle High School. Other achievements include first place finishes in both Science and Math in Academic Olympics during her junior year. Sierra is involved in the Circle High’s Student Council and volunteers in her community by being a member of National Honor Society and 4-H.


Dayton Magone

Dayton Magone is currently ranked number one in Billings West High’s Class of 2022, where he also earned a Principal’s Award earlier this year. Dayton was awarded the opportunity to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy and uses such experience to give back to the community through different volunteering opportunities. He has competed in the Big Sky State Games Tennis for seven years.


Parker Friday

Parker Friday has received Swimming Academic All-State awards for the past two seasons at Billings Senior High School, where she also serves as a member of the Student Council. She has participated in Big Sky State Games Swimming for seven years, Soccer for two years, and Open Water Swimming for two years. During school breaks, Parker coaches technical swim clinics for Billings Aquatic Club.


Ryan Dolan

Ryan Dolan has participated in Big Sky State Games Basketball competition for nine years and Track and Field for three years. She has received Academic All-State awards for Basketball and Soccer at Billings West High School. Additionally, Ryan is a member of West High’s state championship teams in both sports. She volunteers her time by doing projects through Key Club, National Honors Society, Reading Rocks Program, and various community events.


Bailey Graves

Bailey Graves has received two Academic All-State awards for Volleyball, two for Basketball, and one for Track and Field at Laurel High School. Bailey is also a member of the National Honor Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Link Crew, On the Right Track, and helps lead her youth group. She has participated in Big Sky State Games Track and Field for three years.

About the Scholarship

2021 Scholarship Deadline: Friday, May 7

The Big Sky State Games has teamed up with the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition and Mountain Alarm Fire and Security 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 Mountain Alarm Fire and Security.

Over the past twenty-one 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 2020-2021 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.

Previous Winners

 Year Name City
2020 Ruff Elton Red Lodge
  Connor Chase Billings
  Morgan Maack Laurel
  Kylie Zimmer Fergus
  Riley Gilsdorf Billings
2019 Sam George Billings
  Emily Poole Huntley
  Audrey Sipler Big Sandy
  Jessica Swandal Billings
2018 Devin Amtmann Butte
  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