News Release: Russell High School Student Receives Scholarship from JAG-K

Russell High School senior Hannah Gideon was named recipient of the Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) Senior Scholarship at the JAG-K Career Development Conference at Fort Hays State University on Wednesday.

“I am so proud of Hannah for all of her accomplishments, including being named the 2024 JAG-K Senior Scholar,” said JAG-K President and CEO Chuck Knapp. “She is a great example of the benefits of the program and what can happen when students leave their comfort zone and pursue opportunities.”

Kansas’ 112 JAG-K programs, which serve more than 6,000 students in 47 school districts across the state, reports a graduation rate of 96 percent over the past four years. Many of JAG-K’s students attend college, overcoming barriers that might otherwise have kept them from succeeding in school.

The award was announced before more than 250 JAG-K students gathered at Fort Hays State University for the annual JAG-K Career Development Conference.

Gideon plans to attend Fort Hays State University to study Environmental Geosciences.

“I would not have gotten to this point without my community and without everyone in JAG-K supporting me and always encouraging me to do better in my life. I really hope it’s a testament to them,” Gideon said. “I am really looking forward to going to college and making an impact there soon.”

Gideon was selected from an application process that included an essay, resume, a speech, letters of recommendation, and work samples.

“It was tough competition, but what separated Hannah was that she really took advantage of every opportunity that JAG-K provides and then wanted to bring it back so that the other students could take advantage of them,” said Bev Mortimer, JAG-K Senior Vice President of Programming.

Gideon has participated in the JAG-K program at Russell High School for three years. She helped coordinate a 2023 Commonwealth Youth Academy for JAG-K students through Ogallala Commons. Though the academy, six Russell students gained internships last summer.

“From the moment I took over the program, Hannah was fully engaged alongside me,” said Russell High School Career Specialist Raina Tomlinson. “It was never only about Hannah. She was always interested in helping every student, how we grow, how we build a solid foundation, and how we get it to as many students as possible.”

(View a video in which Gideon describes the internship program as part of the scholarship application)

JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 6-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.

The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 38 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, EagleU, Evergy, Goldstein Charitable Trust, the JB and Anne Hodgdon Foundation, John Deere, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Royals Foundation, Kansas Gas Service, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Kohl’s, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation, the City of Topeka, United Way of Kaw Valley, United Way of the Plains and Walmart.

To learn more about JAG-K, visit, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.