2022 Sonlight Scholarship Winners Announced

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Yes...you can homeschool through high school! Meet this year's bright, accomplished, servant-hearted Sonlight Scholarship winners. These exceptional Sonlight-educated students are poised to make a difference in the world. As the winners of our annual Sonlight scholarship competition, they have each been awarded $20,000, $10,000, or $4,000 for college.

Sonlight's 2022 Scholarship Winners

Many of these students have used Sonlight since they were young. They’re headed into promising careers in engineering, arts, medicine, and more. Most are headed to their college of choice, and many have superb SAT or ACT scores.

But they are also kind, big-hearted young adults. Through ministry and volunteerism, they live life with Jesus in their hearts and long to share God’s kingdom with the world.

$20,000 Scholarship Winner: Simon Ross of Rosamond, CA

Awarded $5,000 Per Year

Simon Ross of Rosamond, CA is a young man seeking to serve the Lord in all areas of life. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21) has become a compass for his life’s roadmap. Opportunities for service have been major steps in this journey. Simon, an Eagle Scout, enjoys volunteering his time with the Scouting program by cleaning up the environment, collecting food for the hungry, and placing flags on Memorial Day. Gifted in the field of technology, he assists in producing and distributing his church’s livestream. These experiences, along with a love to design machines and create art, have drawn him to the field of engineering. Simon enjoys drawing, making circuits, programming, modifying airsoft guns, and designing and building large-scale projects. He hopes to be able to use these skills and hobbies to find an enjoyable job and support a family in the future. Simon is still deciding between attending Cedarville University or The United States Air Force Academy but is confident that God will guide him. This direction begins with a strong educational foundation. Using Sonlight since second grade has not only allowed him to excel on standardized tests such as the SAT but has also prepared him to succeed in whatever college path he chooses. None of this would have been possible without the excellent Sonlight curriculum. The education and spiritual guidance from the uplifting literature has helped set his life on the right track.

Simon Ross

$10,000 Scholarship Winners: Shaun Yamamoto, Sonja Dighe, Hannah Moller, and Naomi Hochstedler

Awarded $2,500 Per Year

Shaun Yamamoto of Houston, TX has been homeschooled using Sonlight throughout his entire education. He is blessed to be admitted to several universities and plans to major in mechanical engineering. Shaun excels in STEM, and from a young age, math has been his favorite subject. Thanks to homeschooling, Shaun has been able to take his school along wherever his family travels. Because his father is a professor, his family lived abroad for several summers while his dad taught American students in foreign countries. Shaun thinks the best part of his history education was seeing what he was reading about in all those Sonlight books.

When he is not doing schoolwork, Shaun is busy volunteering as a leader at Awana, being active outdoors with his friends, or working at his home business repairing iPhones. Last summer, he worked as an engineering intern for a magnet company based in Austin, TX. During his junior year of high school, he received the Gold Congressional Award medal with more than 400 service hours doing volunteer work, including repairing flooded houses in Houston with organizations like SBP and Samaritan’s Purse and working in his community at his local library. Shaun enjoys snow skiing, mountain biking, and running a 5k. One of his favorite parts of biking is repairing and upgrading his mountain bike. When he is not working on his mountain bike, he is working on one of the family cars, repairing an iPhone, or building up a hobby-grade RC car. He even made an RC car with a functional butter churn in the back! Shaun is looking forward to God leading him to the right university to develop his gifts to serve others wherever God may lead.

Shaun Yamamoto

Sonja Dighe of San Francisco, CA, is a self-starter and entrepreneur with a future in business and marketing. Academically, Sonja is a high achiever and enjoys using the literary analysis, research, and critical thinking skills she learned through Sonlight curriculum in all her studies. She also shines in a variety of extracurricular activities, from playing alto saxophone in advanced band for several years to assistant directing her homeschool group’s Shakespeare plays. She is a confident and natural leader in her team as part of Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving competition, where her team has placed 12th worldwide as well as 1st several times at the state level.

In her free time, Sonja indulges her creative side, designing art pieces and costumes on a commission basis. Recently Sonja has taken steps to learn more about business through a marketing internship at a small tech start-up in the Bay Area and through attending a week-long business camp, where she acted as head of her group’s company and oversaw the development of a business plan and pitch deck to present to mock investors. Her team won first in the camp and Sonja was also awarded first prize for a speech she presented in the camp-wide speech contest. Sonja is looking forward to college and is eager to attend one of the nine top-tier schools to which she applied. She hopes to experience different cultures and make an impact on the world as an ambassador for Christ and for homeschooling!

Sonja Dighe

Hannah Moller is blessed to be a missionary kid in Malawi, Africa. With a strong interest in the domains of nutrition and dietetics, she was accepted into the University of Stellenbosch's dietetics degree. Hannah says, "I've been incredibly fortunate to witness God lead me to this purpose for my life. I hope to further glorify Him, through a career in dietetics."

Being a third-culture kid has given her the opportunity to witness first-hand several people groups, each with their own diets and culinary practices. Starting from the age of 12, she would volunteer at the local orphanage that served over a hundred young children. During this time, she was also involved in her parent’s projects, such as literacy programs, children’s camps, and famine outreach in rural areas. The people group that her family works with - the Yawo, are subsistence farmers who frequently face hunger and nutritional imbalances. Hannah believes that a degree in dietetics is a much-needed area of knowledge for communities like the Yawo and others in third-world countries around the world.

"As a missionary kid, I have grown up to really appreciate the incredible Christians who pursue God's calling and come to places like Malawi seeking to broaden His kingdom," says Hannah. "I believe that throughout my own life, God has been opening doors and leading me to this same calling. I hope that in my future I too will get the chance to extend God’s love with the countries and cultures where I grew up," she further explains.

Overall, wherever God places Hannah, she hopes to continue to seek and glorify him while also improving the area's nutritional health. But most of all, she's excited to discover and embrace the plans that God has for her.

Hannah Moller

Naomi Hochstedler was born to a Brazilian mother and a Canadian father, and when she was four, moved to the city of São Paulo in Brazil, to serve children and families at risk. She has been homeschooled with Sonlight all the way through school and absolutely loves the books. When her middle sibling, Kaleb, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2018, homeschooling allowed her family to journey very closely together. Her brother was later diagnosed with a second, very rare cancer and passed away in May of 2020. "Throughout this journey, God has taught me so much and kept true to His promise: I will never leave you nor forsake you," shares Naomi.

Naomi grew up riding horses and has competed in showjumping throughout the past five years. Creating holds a special place in her heart – she loves painting, drawing, sewing, creative writing, and more. Sailing and First LEGO League (robotics) have taught her to think on her feet and work cohesively with a team. Choir, drama, public speaking, and mock trial have given her experience in front of an audience and working with different forms of public speaking.

Throughout her time as a missionary kid, she has served in different ministerial capacities such as service and maintenance, sports outreach with children, teaching Sunday School, and assisting a child with down syndrome in Junior Church. One thing she loves about working with children is that no matter what she teaches, she always comes away having learned something from them.

Naomi will spend her freshman year at Rosedale Bible College. After that, she plans to transfer to another university or college to complete a degree. Uncertain of what degree she'd like to pursue, Naomi wants it to be something that will equip her to either manage and organize people or teach and work with children. "I want it to be something versatile that would pair well with motherhood, as I would love to one day have my own children and homeschool them," declares Naomi.

Naomi Hochstedler

$4,000 Scholarship Winners: Juliana Yoder, Samantha Roth, Luke Becker, Gabriella Fields, Wynn Oakley, Braeden Geist, Kelton Cochran, and Thaddaeus Christensen

Awarded $1,000 Per Year

Juliana Yoder

Juliana Yoder of Hartville, OH is described by her youth pastor as “mission-minded, creative, and extremely kind. She has incredible artistic abilities as well, such as writing, music, and artwork.” She has also grown in her drawing and design skills and through a CCP class project, she solidified her desire to pursue a career in graphic design.

Juliana transitioned from public school to homeschooling with Sonlight in 3rd grade and she adapted wonderfully because she loved reading. Over the years her family moved to different countries but through the books that she read for school Juliana saw other families doing the same thing and she threw herself into learning the culture and language, making new friends, and helping her brothers navigate life in new places. Juliana is a self-motivated learner, and this was seen in her desire to study Latin starting at age 10 “because it would help me learn other languages,” she exclaims.

Juliana has taken piano, violin, guitar, and singing lessons over the years and she enjoys being on the worship team at her church. Juliana’s love for animals (specifically horses) and desire to serve others led her to volunteer for several years at an equine therapy program and participate in equestrian vaulting classes. Her coach has high praise for her leadership abilities, “Juliana has shown leadership in mentoring newer and/or younger members of the vaulting team and encourages them to do their best with patience and kindness.”

From living in another culture to understanding what being part of a church and community means, Juliana’s life has never been short of learning, growing experiences. She believes college will equip her with the training and skills needed to pursue what the Lord is calling her to do. After attending Rosedale Bible College for one year, Juliana plans to attend Kent State University (KSU) to obtain a BFA in visual communication design.

Samantha Roth

Samantha Roth of Earlham, IA, has used Sonlight since preschool. She has excelled academically and is a member of the National Home School Honor Society. She credits Sonlight’s literature-based curriculum with cultivating her love of stories and inspiring her to start writing. She has completed a novel and a novella, pitched her novel at a writers’ conference, and is excited for the publication of her first article in the summer of 2022. Samantha is a gifted writer who dreams of using her talents to glorify God and serve others. She says, “I want my imagination to be dedicated to Jesus and pray that He will lead me to ‘take captive every thought’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).”

Through Young Patriots Club, a local ministry, Samantha joined other youth in supporting and uplifting veterans, members of the military, and first responders. As a Youth Leader, she helped younger members to learn songs, speeches, and poems for performances. Along with starting an art and writing contest, she co-wrote a script that was performed during the club’s annual Hearts for Heroes program. During the Military Tribute Concert at the Iowa State Fair, Samantha had the honor of leading the children’s choir in reciting a poem that she wrote.

Samantha also enjoys leading worship and serving others at her church. She loves volunteering during Vacation Bible School and helping children to learn more about Jesus. Her pastor says, “Samantha is a pleasure to work with because her humble and positive attitude makes being around her easy and enjoyable.”

After graduation, Samantha plans to study marketing and creative writing at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. As an aspiring author, she desires to bring quality fantasy books to youth.

Lukas Becker

Lukas Becker of Boyceville, Wisconsin has used Sonlight for as long as he can remember. His family chose homeschooling with Sonlight because of their constant moving in the military. He has been involved in his local school’s Science Olympiad since 8th grade and has scored in the top six at the state tournament multiple times. He received a 35 on his ACT and scored highest on English and Reading. He is currently dual-enrolled at his local university, UW Stout. His favorite class is Calculus. Every Wednesday he volunteers at his church’s AWANA ministry, and every now and then he helps out in the nursery as well. He is also active in his church’s youth group. He plans to pursue his passionate interest in politics, economics, and theology at Hillsdale College in Michigan, with a major in Political Economics. Once he graduates, he will do whatever God calls him to do and go wherever God calls him to go, with his highest priority being the fulfillment of the Great Commission. In his spare time, he reads Star Wars books, listens to theology debates on YouTube, and tunes in to the Ben Shapiro Show. Soli Deo gloria.

Gabriella Fields

Gabriella Fields of Key West, FL grew up in a military family and has used Sonlight all over the USA, including in both the largest and smallest states and most recently the southernmost point. Very self-motivated, she has taught herself to play the ukulele, sketch, and crochet, and she enjoys blessing family and friends with handmade gifts.

Gabriella has been a dedicated member of American Heritage Girls (AHG) for the last eight years. From serving as the Girl Shepherd to designing and publishing a monthly newsletter and coordinating flag ceremonies, Gabriella has volunteered in many leadership roles in her troop and has led multiple events and service projects. She is currently working to earn the highest award achievable in AHG, the Stars and Stripes award.

Gabriella has the heart to serve others and has volunteered for many different places in her community, including a community garden, a Mothers of Preschoolers group, and the Montgomery Zoo. She currently volunteers at the local sailing center and is also pursuing a sailing instructor certification.

Being from a Coast Guard family, Gabriella has taken the Coast Guard motto “Semper Paratus” (Always Ready) to heart and works to be ready for whatever God has in store for her future. While she currently plans to pursue a mechanical engineering degree, she is always open for God to direct her life as He sees fit. Ultimately, Gabriella seeks to serve God, her family, and her community while working to be ready for God’s plan for her future.

Wynn Oakley

Wynn Oakley of Jackson, MS has used Sonlight as the core of his entire academic career. Wynn scored a perfect score on the AP U.S. History exam as well as being named a National Merit Finalist based on his outstanding PSAT scores. In addition to Sonlight, Wynn has participated in several homeschool co-op classes with his peers—including the Starkville Homeschool Music Co-operative where Wynn has played euphonium for eight years.

Wynn has used his musical abilities to serve his church and community. He is a member of the brass ensemble, the student choir, and the youth group worship ensemble at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson and was selected to several Honor Bands around the state.

Wynn has also served as a leader in Trail Life USA where he enjoys teaching the younger boys to enjoy all things camping and outdoors. For the last eight years, Wynn has served as a volunteer for the local relay center of Operation Christmas Child—where he now helps to train other volunteers. Wynn serves as a member of the Mississippi Children's Museum President's Leadership Circle, where he holds the office of President. He has also been able to serve as a page for the Speaker of the House of the Mississippi House of Representatives for three years.

Wynn has been accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine Early Entry Program at Mississippi State University, where he plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in biochemistry before attending vet school. He hopes to one day work as a small-animal vet in Mississippi, loving and serving the needs of the people in his community.

Braeden Geist

Braeden Geist of New London, OH has used Sonlight since he became a homeschooler in 2nd grade. He has been taking college courses since his freshman year of high school. Braeden has also run cross country and track since he was in 7th grade and has competed at the State Championship cross country meet twice. Braeden earned Academic All-Ohio on both occasions. He is active in his church and youth group, serving on his church’s Youth Ministry and Leadership team. He is a former 4-H member of 7 years, serving as his club treasurer on multiple occasions.

Braeden plans to attend college in pursuit of a Computer Science degree, though he has not yet decided on his college. He dreams to one day pursue a job in a sports-related industry, whether that is for a professional league or team, or with an affiliated field such as fantasy sports. 

Justus Cochran

K. Justus Cochran of Senoia, GA has used Sonlight since he was in 1st grade. In addition to multiple dual enrollment classes his senior year, Justus still chose to complete “one more core” with Sonlight because he didn’t want to miss the books he would get to read! Justus has lived overseas and in four different states during his homeschool years. He has grown in character through these challenges to be someone a supervisor describes as having a “cheerful attitude, a willingness to serve, and engagement to get a task done well.” He is a friend to everyone he meets; showing grace, kindness, and commitment to them.

In his local church, Justus serves regularly in the nursery, as a greeter, during workdays, as well as helping with events. He also serves with Vacation Bible School, volunteers with the preschoolers at his church’s homeschool co-op, and will serve with a team at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic this summer. Justus has also taken the opportunity to volunteer as a day camp counselor at both Winshape and Connect Camps during the summer. He’s been active in Civil Air Patrol as a basic airman and played varsity baseball where he was awarded the Most Christlike Award by his coach for always being ready to pray, encourage, and lead the other young men on the team.

While Sonlight has supported Justus in being a successful self-taught student, he has also applied that discipline and passion to music. He taught himself to play the acoustic and electric guitars, the ukulele, and basic piano theory. While he enjoys volunteering with kids in his church and community, his passion is mostly in leading worship. He has been given the opportunity to serve in the youth worship band, as well as to lead worship for the families in his small group.

Justus has been a faithful part-time employee throughout his high school years, but always finds time to participate in small group Bible studies, one-on-one accountability, and service projects for other families. Justus hopes to attend Covenant College in the fall and study either engineering or computer science with a minor in music. While his primary life goal is to have a career that provides for his future family, he also hopes to grow in the knowledge and skills to write music that will glorify the Lord and edify the local church.

Thaddaeus Christensen

Thaddaeus Christensen of Buford, WY grew up in a rural community and has used Sonlight from K-12. Thaddaeus’ mechanical aptitude was evident from an early age, and he enjoyed the hands-on learning activities afforded by homeschooling. Combining his Sonlight education and his family’s ranching lifestyle, he was able to fully develop this passion (winning the American Meteorological Society Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for his engineering project) and plans to continue to do so by pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

Thaddaeus has helped with youth in the bus ministry at his local church and in the local 4-H program. These two programs have given him an insight into many different social circles, and he plans to continue to seek out opportunities to work with youth. He sees the need in many young peoples’ lives for the Lord and the necessity of doing all things as unto Him. He plans to continue to use his investigative nature while pursuing his engineering degree and use the opportunities to share the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ.

Could Your Young Learner Win a Sonlight Scholarship?

From preschool through high school graduation, Sonlight prepares your students. We have the big picture in mind, and we help you raise students prepared to launch into any career God calls them to. We share your desire to help your children succeed, and we’ll walk alongside to help you create the long-term educational experience you envision.

Did you know we've awarded more than $1.5 million to Sonlight graduates to date?

Each year, our charitable foundation offers a number of college scholarships, ranging from $4,000 to $20,000, spread over four years. Each year, the Sonlight Foundation offers the following scholarships:

  • $5,000 per year
  • $2,500 per year
  • $1,000 per year

We offer scholarships on two tracks: one emphasizes academics, and the other creativity, mission-mindedness, and service. Got a perfect score on the SAT? Got average test scores, but served overseas during summer vacation for the last three years? In either case, you may qualify.

The Sonlight Foundation recognizes that academic giftedness is only one type of giftedness. If your student is gifted in academics, service, music, art, or has a heart for missions, we encourage you to submit an application.

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