Character Counts! Scholarship

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About the Scholarship

2024 Scholarship Deadline: Friday, May 5

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-three 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 2023-2024 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 fill out the application below. It will also be available at all Montana High Schools Guidance Counselor offices.

    Online Scholarship Form

About the 2023 Winners

The Big Sky State Games selected Keatin Hertz of Billings Senior High School, Julia Kunau of Fergus High School, Logan Cole of Billings Senior High School, and Delayne Lindeen of Huntley Project High School as the recipients of the 2023 Big Sky State Games Character Counts! Scholarship. The $500 scholarship winners were recognized at the 38th Annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies event.

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


Keatin Hertz

Keatin Hertz, has competed in the State games for the past eight years in five different events (Tennis, Ballroom Dancing, Golf, Road Race, and Opening Ceremonies). Hertz holds a 4.53 Cumulative GPA at Billings Senior High School. He has the awards in Jazz band, Montana Eagle scout of the year, Drum Corps Leader, District Music Festival awards, National History Day County, State, and National Champion, and DMK Percussionist award.


Julia Kunau

Julia Kunau has competed in Dance in the State Games since 2014. Kunau is a student at Fergus High School participating in National Honor Society, Class President, Sophomore, and Class A State Champion in debate, Business Professionals of America,, finalist in State Olympiad in Medical Health Events, and received the Daughters of American Revolution Youth Citizenship award 2020. Kunau has the work experience of lifeguarding, being a barista, and a choreographer of dance at the Dance Syndicate.


Logan Cole

Logan Cole has been a Big Sky State Games participant in soccer from 2014-2015 and Track and Field from 2016-2017. His academic and athletic accomplishments at Billings Senior High School include holding a 4.61 Cumulative GPA, participating in National Honors Society, Senior Advocates, NHSA High School All American Award and 3X Academic All State.


Delayne Lindeen

Delayne Lindeen has participated in Volleyball in both team and quad categories since 2018. Lindeen attends Huntley Project High School holding a 4.0 cumulative GPA and participates in Volleyball and Track and Field. For three years she has received academic All State in Volleyball as well as Track and Field, and has spent two years in the National Honors Society. Lindeen has an entrepreneurial mindset being self employed since 2020 and is a lifeguard at Oasis.


Previous Winners

 Year Name City
2022 Ella Breen Laurel
  Kaiya Graves Laurel
  Mya Mack Laurel
  Tucker Rick Billings
  Teylor Ronish Billings
2021 Sierra Nagle Circle
  Dayton Magone Billings
  Parker Friday Billings
  Ryan Dolan Billings
  Bailey Graves Laurel
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