South Dakota 4-H announces 2014-2015 Hometown Heroes

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — The South Dakota 4-H Foundation has announced the 2014-2015 Hometown Heroes representatives.

The poster project got its start in the Sioux Empire CHARACTER COUNTS! program and has been a part of this program for 18 years. The poster project is in its third year as a statewide project for the 4-H program.

This fall, 106 high school Hometown Heroes from 48 South Dakota communities, including the Sioux Empire, will present the message, A Click Away From Chaos! How to polish your character in a social media centered world.

More than 10,000 elementary and middle school students will hear this message statewide. The Hometown Heroes will be challenging all of their local students they speak with, to carry a polished stone in their right pants pocket.

Each stone will act as a reminder to each student of how important it is to ‘not compromise’ their character while engaged in everyday social media. In all, there are four poster regions which help introduce the Hometown Heroes, Northeast, Sioux Empire, Southeast and West,” said Phil Olson, SDSU 4-H Foundation Regional Poster Coordinator.

Each student participating in the Hometown Heroes Poster Project is pictured on a poster representing his or her region of the state. Under their photo, each student has shared a statement about the importance of ‘Good Character!’ “Each student statement is written very intentionally to engage student readers and to promote positive character,” Olson said.

To receive a copy of the Hometown Heroes from your region please e-mail Olson at

Student representatives from each South Dakota community are listed below. These representatives were selected by their school administrations because of the consistent character they have shown in their school and communities.

2014-15 SD Hometown Heroes

Sioux Empire Poster: Baltic- Preston Everett and Makenzie Moe; Brandon Valley- Makenzie Marso and Drew Reinschmidt; Canton-Josh Lasley and Justine Zylstra; Harrisburg- Haley Bruggeman and Cody Cook; Sioux Falls Christian- Karissa Van Surksum and Lee Wynja; SF Lincoln- Emma Nykamp and Nathan Schroeder ; SF Roosevelt- Taryn Christion and Tagyn Larson; SF New Technology High School- Savannah Jensen and Jason Nichols; SF O’Gorman- A.J. Martinec and Jessica Mieras; Tea- Brandon Joffer and Lexi LaFave; Tri-Valley-Samantha Kasowski and Connor Hickman; SF Washington- Cole Benson and Lizzie Spier; and West Central- Dean Knuth and Hanna Wahl.

South Poster: Alcester-Hudson- Sierra McConnell and Colin Walth; Beresford- Bailey Nelson and Christian Wilson; Chester-Cole Acheson and Sara Heyn; Dell Rapids- Riley Schmidt and Jessica Tisher; Flandreau- Baylee Relf and Derick Veldkamp; Hanson- Amanda Kaufmann and Jerrod Zens; Howard-Logan Hattervig and Hannah Noonan; Lennox- Harlie Breck and Nathan Timmerman; Madison- Emily Hawkes and Carter Kasuske; Mitchell- Tyler Larson and Ellie Rew; Mt. Vernon-Plankington-, Haley Hinker and Tye Harris; Scotland- Shaye Bloch and Carley Skorepa; and Vermillion- Regan Bye and Rachel Finnegan.

North Poster: Aberdeen- Sam Schaunaman and Madisyn Waage; Arlington- Andrew King and Josie Parry; Brookings- Carter Gordon and Lauren Coughlin; Clark-Willow Lake- Dylan Wicks and Makayla Prouty; Estelline- Abigail Benning and Nolan Sonnenburg; Hamlin- Brody Grantham and Alexandra Lakness; Huron- Mark Christenson and Jacey Hupp; Miller- Beau Keeter and Jamie Mentzer; North Western-Haley Grandpre and Corbin Smith; Sioux Valley- Mariah VanderWal and Landon Stevens, Watertown- Austin Vanderweide and Megan Bach; Waubay-Lydia Wieger and Levi Olson; and Wessington Springs- Austin Messmer and Morgan Tebay.

West Poster: Belle Fourche- Isaac Collins and Jordan Aspen; Custer- David Gaston and Sidney Snyder; Lead-Deadwood-Nate Finster and Stacey Anderson; Lemmon- Tyler Heil and Brady Beer; Lower Brule- J-Lin Estes and Ryan Gray; Newell-Tyus Olson and Millie Hanson; Philip-Tristen Rush and Peyton DeJong; Pierre- Ethan Leif and McKenna Halvorson; Rapid City Central- Josh Dotson and Ashley Solano; Rapid City Stevens- Thomas Pfeifle and Erin Rezich; Rapid City St. Thomas More- Matthew Eastmo and Audree Blankratz; Sturgis- Brown-Jacob Simmons and Illianna Shuck; and Spearfish- Tanner Rost and Alexis Burket.

For more information, contact Olson at or Karelyn Farrand, SDSU Extension Character Education Field Specialist at