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Winners Announced in State Securities Division Essay Contest

South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation

700 Governors Drive

Pierre, SD 57501



For Immediate Release:  Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Media Contact:  Dawn Dovre, 605-773-3094


Winners Announced in State Securities Division Essay Contest


PIERRE, S.D. – Seniors from seven South Dakota high schools have been named cash prize winners in an essay contest coordinated by the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, Division of Securities.


How to Create Financial Independence by Understanding Five Principles of Investing was the theme of the investor education and protection initiative. South Dakota high school seniors were invited to submit five-page essays to win cash prizes of up to $6,000.


Winners of the 2012-2013 contest include:

  • First Place: Dakota Nelson, $6,000, Rapid City Stevens High School.
  • Second Place: Alexander Thomason, $5,000, Sioux Falls Washington High School.
  • Third Place: Carson Eisenbeisz $3,500, T.F. Riggs High School, Pierre.
  • Fourth Place: Benjamin Forrette, $2,500, Milbank High School.
  • Fifth Place: Henry Wegehaupt, $1,500, Parkston High School.


Drawing Winners: 

  • $1,000 Drawings (2): Megan Huether, Parkston High School.  Tyler Hackwith, Milbank High School.
  • $750 Drawings (2): Ryan Alley, Parkston High School.  Jennifer Wagner, West Central High School, Hartford.
  • $500 Drawings (2): Afton Johnson, West Central High School, Hartford.  Russell Pick, Kimball High School
  • $250 Drawings (2): Chynna Stevens, Clark High School.  Krista Edberg, West Central High School, Hartford.


The Division of Securities received 196 entries from 38 schools in the seventh annual contest. Essays were judged on their content and placed in one of four levels. When all papers were categorized, division officials randomly selected two winners from each level. 


In addition to submitting essays, students also had to be sponsored by a teacher from their high school. Educators sponsoring the top five winning students received cash prizes up to $500. The teacher sponsoring the most senior student essays won $500. One teacher was also randomly drawn to win $100. Educators honored as sponsors are:

  • Dr. Andrew Smith, $500, Rapid City Stevens High School, for sponsoring the first place winner.
  • Michelle Sorenson-Johnson, $400, Sioux Falls Washington High School, for sponsoring the second place winner.
  • Denise Thompson, $300, T.F. Riggs High School (Pierre), for sponsoring the third place winner.
  • Tyler Hockett, $200, Parkston High School, for sponsoring the fourth place winner.
  • Judy Howell, $100, Milbank High School, for sponsoring the fifth place winner.
  • Tyler Hockett, received $100 for sponsoring the most qualified entries.
  • Rodney Palo, Waverly-South Shore High School, Waverly, was the teacher randomly chosen to receive a cash prize of $100.


The essay contest was funded by a grant from the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. Since 1993, the IPT has worked with states to provide independent, objective investor education all Americans can use to make informed investment decisions. For more information, visit www.investorprotection.org


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