York College has announced the finalists for its most prestigious academic financial award, the Presidential Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to one incoming freshman each year and recognizes academic achievement as well as high moral character.

Finalists for this award are Brianna Eckerberg (Gering, Neb.), David Tupper (Ewa Beach, Hawaii), Elizabeth Ryan (Mountain Home, Idaho), Eva Maria Jones (Salem, Ore.), Jacob Kuhne (Mukwonago, Wis.), Joseph Wanninger (Berthoud, Colo.), Kellie Fredendall (Jefferson City, Mo.), and Kennedy Gray (Great Falls, Mont.).

To be considered for this award, students must meet high academic standards as well as submit written essays and other application materials. Top candidates are invited to campus for interviews to determine the recipient of the President’s Scholar. All finalists will receive the Dean’s Scholarship. The Presidential Scholarship recipient will be announced later this week.

About the Finalists
Brianna Eckerberg is involved in journalism and has placed at the top in several state competitions for news writing, sports journalism, and yearbook. She has many academic accolades to her credit, including Journal Star Academic All State, honor roll, and National Honor Society membership. She was runner-up in a mock trial competition in 2015 and participated in a Junior Law Cadet program in 2016. Eckerberg is the editor of her high school newspaper.

She is also a varsity athlete in track and field at Gering High School. In addition to her many other medals, she achieved a fourth place ranking at the state level in shot put in 2015. At York College, Eckerberg plans to major in criminal justice and psychology as well as participate in track and field.

David Tupper is the vice president of his high school chapter of National Honor Society. He has been named a College Board AP Scholar for his performance on multiple advanced placement exams. He has been on the Principal’s List (honor roll) every semester for the past six years and has been involved in numerous church and community service activities.

A skilled athlete and leader, Tupper has been the team captain of the Hawaii Rush Soccer Club squad for the past three years and has played with the program since 2007.  He is also the team captain for the varsity squad at James Campbell High School. In 2016, he was recognized as the top player in his conference. He also participates in track and was the champion of the Cal Track Invitational 800m all-state competition.

At York College, Tupper plans to major in engineering and take advantage of the 3/2 program that offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering in five years through an articulation agreement with Washington University. He will also play soccer.

Elizabeth Ryan is a hard working student athlete with a 4.0 GPA and a passion for science. She was named the “Most Outstanding Student” at Mountain Home High School, was recognized with an Outstanding Individual Scholastic Award by the Idaho High School Activities Association, as well as annual team awards for academics from the same organization, and a Southern Idaho Conference Academic Award. In 2015 and 2016 she was recognized with the All Conference Award for soccer defense, second team.

In addition to soccer, Ryan has also participated in basketball and cross country. She is a member of the National Honor Society and youth ministry. She has participated in many church and community service events. At York College, Ryan plans to major in Chemistry and play soccer.

Maria Jones is an honor roll student and was the district debate champion in 2014 and 2015. Jones is a member of the National Honor Society. She has been recognized by Camp Ivydale with awards for service and encouragement. She is involved with her church’s youth group as well as Leadership Training for Christ events.

Jones has participated in disaster relief efforts in Moore, Oklahoma and a mission trip to the Bahamas. She has counseled a Christian camp for the past four years, assisted with her church’s Vacation Bible School program, and volunteered during church workdays.
Jones says her passion is helping people and spreading the Gospel of Christ. She is undecided on her major at York College, but she plans to minor in Biblical Studies.

Jacob Kuhne has been an honor roll scholar and a scholar-athlete for the last four years. He plays soccer with his high school’s team and has been a member of the History Club and the Key Club. He has served as a camp counselor and a soccer camp instructor. He assists with the children’s education program at his church and helps out at the church festival every year.

At York College, Kuhne plans to major in accounting and play soccer.

Joseph Wanninger is a very busy student athlete, participating in soccer, basketball, theater, band and track while maintaining a high GPA.

Wanninger  has earned an academic le
tter, was Academic All-State First Team (soccer) and was named to the honor roll from freshman through senior year. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has served as the team captain in basketball and soccer. Junior year he was named Most Valuable Player for basketball and the following year he was named Best Midfielder for soccer.

Wanninger participates in church and community service activities including tutoring, assistant coach for youth sports, assisting with children’s ministry and serving as the church webmaster.

At York College, Wanninger will major in engineering and secondary education.

Kellie Fredendall is a 4.0 student with a busy schedule of activities including basketball, volleyball, student council, and membership or leadership roles with Future Business Leaders of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, American Sign Language Club, youth group, and National Honor Society.

Fredendall has participated in multiple service projects including Operation Bugle Boy and Operation Leaf Relief (Veterans appreciation events). She has volunteered at a children’s home and the Missouri Special Olympics, as well as at basketball camps as an instructor and at Little Prairie Bible Camp as a counselor.

At York College, Fredendall will major in elementary education and play basketball.

Kennedy Gray has a passion for science that she will continue to pursue at York College as she majors in biology. Her ambition is to attend medical school to research neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Gray is a member of the National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, STEM Club, Great Falls College MSU Community Choir, and the Montana Christian Athletic Association, which recognized Gray with a Varsity Volleyball Christian Character Award. At Foothills Christian School, she served on the spiritual emphasis team as a devotions leader and secretary. She also served as a student senator for Montana TeenPact Leadership Schools.

Gray has participated in a mission trip to Arizona working with Apache families. She served as an assistant counselor for Falls Rescue Mission Summer Camp as well as an after school program volunteer for kids at the Rescue Mission. Gray volunteered at the Montana Special Olympics and has served meals to the elderly via a program for shut-ins.