The nonprofit National American University (NAU) Foundation and several area sponsors teamed up to provide Rapid City public and private middle school students with an incentive to answer the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
For a chance to win $250, the My Plan for the Future scholarship opportunity challenged students to submit an essay about where they see themselves in 2030 and, most importantly, their plans for achieving their goals.
The overall winner, Emily Myscofski, a seventh grade student at St. Thomas More Middle School, was selected from among more than 130 applicants. She received $250, sponsored by Andrew Bartling of Modern Woodmen of America in Rapid City, an NAU alumnus.
Myscofski, who aspires to be an engineer, impressed independent reviewers by clearly articulating her career goal and the steps she has already taken to achieve her goal. She is currently the captain of the Cavalier Computer Club, which is working on creating a simulated Mars colony. Ultimately, Myscofski hopes to attend the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, where she will pursue a master’s degree in chemical and biological engineering, to include research on growing plants with technology.
“I want as much as I can get out of life, which means following my dreams and focusing on my education, especially in high school,” Myscofski wrote. “I plan to make friends, learn a lot, make mistakes, and do extracurricular activities.”
“I plan on doing great things. I know how important it is to have a planned future and a detailed one as well,” she added. “I plan to be amazing, but for right now I’m still just in middle school planning my future.”
In addition to Myscofski, five other students each received an Honorable Mention and $50 in recognition of their excellent essays.
Brian Bowers, 6th grader, St. Thomas More Middle School: Engineer or Doctor
Alexa Ham, 8th grader, Southwest Middle School: Rancher
Reese Howard, 7th grader, West Middle School: Interior Designer
Aaron Johnson, 8th grader, St. Thomas More Middle School: Pilot
Abbigail Wagner, 8th grader, St. Thomas More Middle School: Physical Therapist, Business Owner
Their awards were sponsored by Richard Kahler of Kahler Financial Group, Nathan Parkin and Luke Nehring of Rapid Foundation Repair, Stacy Nehring of the Live Like Lilli Foundation, the Rapid City Area of Commerce’s Workforce Development Group, and Linda Rabe, the President & CEO of the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce and NAU Foundation Board Member.
“I’m so proud of these kids. Writing down a plan for the future is challenging, but also very empowering,” said Tamie Hopp, Director of NAU’s Alumni & Foundation Services, who coordinated the contest. “All 130 kids who participated saw their dreams become tangible and achievable right before their eyes.”
Photo credit: Sierra Hopp, SierraSDPhotography Copy courtesy of NAU Foundation