BILLINGS – Ask anyone at Billings Central High School about second student Hank Jagodzinski, and you’ll hear all of the book’s superlatives: brilliant, motivated, the classmate, and the ideal student who will no doubt have many scholarship opportunities.
But he may not need it anymore, because two weeks ago a new company offered to finance it for life.
“I don’t think I will be able to figure this out for a while,” Jagodzinski admitted. “They don’t invest in one single project. They invest in me as a person.”
The concept is almost unknown – a scholarship that never ends. The initiative is called RISE. His goal ? Find the next generation of world leaders.
“They are ready to trust young people a lot, which is not always the case,” Jagodzinski said.
Out of tens of thousands of applicants, Hank is one of the 100 global winners. His perks include a full four-year scholarship at any accredited university, new technology every year, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to apply for funding for any idea he comes up with to positively change the world for the rest of his life.
His first? Start journalism in middle and high school in Montana.
âI wanted to do something achievable,â Jagodzinski said. âThe friend who told me about RISE spoke about the impact of young people on climate change, and I think it’s a very worthwhile endeavor. But I wanted to do something where I could see real results.
“I think student journalism is not political. It doesn’t divide and I can get results my way.”
Hank surveyed all of Montana’s AA class districts and received disappointing responses.
âOnly 30% of schools had a newspaper or similar journalistic publication,â he said.
Having spearheaded the St. Francis Middle Schools article four years ago and continuing that in the BC Chronicle now, Hank is writing worksheets, instructions, and best practices from all sources he can find. ‘he can find.
âYou will find them in the most random places,â he said. “You have to research the right keywords, and all of a sudden an obscure college textbook in Nebraska pops up with some really helpful advice.”
It’s about helping an industry – and perhaps a generation – that needs it.
âI want students to be able to discover what journalism is, to open their eyes beyond social media,â Jagodzinski said. âI think a lot of us are stuck scrolling through Twitter or Instagram feeds or mindlessly watching videos on TikTok.
âIt’s pretty amazing to see the decline in local content in most Montana newspapers,â he continued. “That’s a lot of content (Associated Press). There are too many stories in a city, especially the size of Billings for local media staff, and so there are a lot of stories that go untold. . “
But not this one, and we are impatiently awaiting volume 2.