The 30th annual celebration of Sourcewell's Students of Character is on April 14 at 5:30 p.m. on Facebook.

The Students of Character Celebration recognizes high school juniors and seniors in the region for their quiet leadership, perseverance and dedication to their community, school and fellow students. Honorees are selected by their school staff with the criteria that they are unsung heroes of their districts. The event celebrates the difference these students make and lets them know they are appreciated and believed in.

Each student selected earns a $600 scholarship towards continuing education.

Here are a number of the local students being recognized during the event:

Bertha-Hewitt nominated students:

Newsletter signup for email alerts
  • Kaylee Baker, nominated by Courtney Roatch: "Kaylee has contributed to her school and community as a member of student council, leadership class, and the entrepreneurship program. She’s quick to help others, often putting their needs ahead of her own. Kaylee plans to attend the University of Minnesota in Crookston and study natural resources."

Kaylee Baker, Bertha-Hewitt High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell
Kaylee Baker, Bertha-Hewitt High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell

  • Julian Ellis, nominated by Courtney Roatch: "Julie always has a smile on her face, even on tough days, of which she’s had more than her fair share. Julie was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder. She’s had several surgeries and has used a wheelchair most of her time in high school. This doesn’t stop her from seeking out ways to help others and brighten her classmates’ days. Julie plans to pursue a career as a receptionist."

Julian Ellis, Bertha-Hewitt High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell
Julian Ellis, Bertha-Hewitt High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell

Menahga nominated students:

  • Tyler Shepersky, nominated by Todd Frie: "Tyler’s never-give-up attitude and grit are nearly unmatched. His physical disability has not slowed him down one bit, not even in a strength-training class. He approaches the class (and life) focusing on what he can do. He never complains and is a model citizen to others in terms of character, work ethic, and perseverance. Tyler plans to study engineering but is undecided about a college."

Tyler Shepersky, Menahga High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Tyler Shepersky, Menahga High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

  • Madison Thene, nominated by Bailey Yliniemi: "Madison has juggled school, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and taking care of her mom – a breast cancer survivor – with incredible grace and positivity. As a member of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) she organized activities to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and raised funds to support the national organization. Madison plans to study social work at Minnesota State University in Moorhead."

Madison Thene, Menahga High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Madison Thene, Menahga High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

Sebeka nominated students:

  • David Avelsgard, nominated by Luke Roberts: "David works hard in school, participates in class, respects his teachers and classmates, and is a joy to be around. He is Sebeka’s super fan, supporting peers by attending as many events as possible. David has worked at Kenny’s Candy and Confections for two years. He plans to study communications and journalism with hopes of becoming a sports broadcaster."

David Avelsgard, Sebeka High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
David Avelsgard, Sebeka High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

  • Devon Huttunen, nominated by Rachel Kern: "Devon is the kind of student teachers want to clone. He respects others, follows school rules, completes schoolwork, and consistently does the right thing. Devon turned over a new leaf during his sophomore year, making positive changes to his physical health, academic commitment, and social life. His courage to make changes has inspired several students and staff. Devon plans to study nursing at Central Lakes College."

Devon Huttunen, Sebeka High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Devon Huttunen, Sebeka High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

Staples-Motley nominated students:

  • Alex Brings, nominated by Mike Schmidt: "Alex is legally blind and has a history of seizures. But to say he’s overcome obstacles would imply he felt there was ever anything in his way. Alex is a student, artist, athlete, and speech champion. He’s involved in his church community and the Staples Area Men’s Chorus. He’s been accepted to Concordia College in Moorhead and plans to become a high school teacher."

Alex Brings, Staples-Motley High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Alex Brings, Staples-Motley High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

  • Alexis Tweeter, nominated by Mike Schmidt: "Alexis is known as a leader and achiever at Staples-Motley. She’s faced her obstacles head on and overcome them with hard work and resiliency. Her gentle demeanor, strong moral compass, and kindness make her a leader worth following. Lexi works at ACE Hardware. She will complete her Associate of Arts this spring and is interested in nursing, business, or working as a flight attendant."

Alexis Tweeter, Staples-Motley High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Alexis Tweeter, Staples-Motley High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

Verndale nominated students:

  • Makayla Heifort, nominated by Sam Schmitz: "Makayla is willing to help others anytime and anyplace. She always gives her best. All her life, she’s helped care for loved ones with special needs. Makayla is one of the most positive students in our school and regularly volunteers with the CHAMP coalition. She’s a talented artist who also loves football. Makayla is a devoted employee at Accra Homecare and is still deciding what’s next for her after graduation."

Makayla Heifort, Verndale High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Makayla Heifort, Verndale High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

  • Victoria Martinez, nominated by Angie Orsburn: "This school year was a challenge for Victoria as she had responsibilities at home to tend to while also keeping up with her online learning. She never fell behind and qualified for the honor roll each semester. Victoria is a committed member of Future Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and helps lead our annual community cleanup program. She plans to study graphic design."

Victoria Martinez, Verndale High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Victoria Martinez, Verndale High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

Wadena-Deer Creek nominated students:

  • Jaden Herr, nominated by Laura Kiser: "Jaden is a quiet, mature, and responsible individual. She doesn’t often speak up, but when she does, it’s valuable. She has found her way through some difficult obstacles in her personal and academic life. Jaden is a talented artist and has an eye for detail. She is still figuring out what’s next after graduation."

Jaden Herr, Wadena-Deer Creek High School.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)
Jaden Herr, Wadena-Deer Creek High School. Photo courtesy of Jenny Holmes/Sourcewell (2021)

  • Paige Kilbury, nominated by Toni Kraska: "Paige has spent more time in a hospital than most people do in a lifetime due to complications with her liver. After receiving a liver transplant last summer, she has been busy with follow-up appointments. Her resilience and positive attitude while working extra hard to keep up with her schoolwork are inspirational. Paige works at The Meadows in Wadena. She plans to go into nursing, hopefully in pediatrics."

How to watch:

  • Go to facebook.com/sourcewellgov
  • Log in, or skip the step by selecting, “Not Now”
  • Scroll down until you see a Premiere box titled, “Students of Character – 2021 Virtual Celebration”
  • Click on the box to start watching
  • There will also be a recording on Sourcewell’s Facebook page after April 14.