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Night of Stars Scholarships Awarded to UMW Students

July 27, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 9th Annual Night of Stars- Education Hall of Fame event, held each spring at UMW, was postponed until next year. Event sponsor Stockman Bank, even with the postponement of the event, committed to provide both their annual “Take Stock in Education” scholarship and “Stock your Classroom” award for UMW education students.


The $750 “Take Stock in Education” scholarship will be awarded to Todd Nordahl for the 2020-21 academic year. Nordahl is a senior at Montana Western, majoring in Elementary Education with a middle school math option. In Nordahl’s family, education is a tradition as both of his parents and his brother and sister all teach in the surrounding areas.

“Thank you, Stockman Bank and Shane Puyear, for allowing me to reduce the cost of school in order to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher in the state of Montana. This scholarship means a lot to a hometown kid that has had the opportunity to witness many great teachers. This scholarship has provided me with another stepping stone on my way to completing school and becoming a teacher. To me, this means more than just money for school. It means someone cares about the career path that I have chosen and is just as passionate about it. With much gratitude, I once again thank Stockman Bank and Shane Puyear for this scholarship,” Nordahl said.

Gary Stevenson, from Lodge Grass, Mont. received the $250 “Stock your Classroom” award. Stevenson graduated this spring with a degree in Business and Computer Applications education. Stevenson’s passion lies in helping others, particularly the youth of his home on the Crow Reservation. As a future educator, who would also like to coach at the varsity level, he feels that this is the best platform to inspire and assist young people in reaching their goals.

The “Stock your Classroom” award is a cash award for a new teacher to purchase much-needed items for their classroom. This award was the idea of V.P. Branch Manager Shane Puyear of Dillon’s Stockman Bank. Shane and his wife Lacie (Scott) are both alumni of UMW and Lacie is a 5th grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School. Shane has seen firsthand how teachers often need to purchase additional supplies for their classroom and thought this would be a meaningful award for a new teacher.

UMW also provides a “Night of Stars” scholarship that is funded annually by the Night of Stars event. This year’s recipient is Justin Silva. Justin is one of the Outstanding Teacher Candidate award recipients who graduated this spring.

The University of Montana Western plans to honor the 2020 inductees at the 2021 Night of Stars ceremony. For more information about the Night of Stars, contact the University of Montana Western Foundation at 406-683-7305 or visit the Foundation website.