JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI – Cheyenne Keck, a senior at Dixon R-1 High School, is one of seven students in Missouri to win the 17th annual Project 21 Scholarship competition sponsored by the Missouri Gaming Association, the professional organization representing casino operators in Missouri.
Keck will receive a $1,000 scholarship for tuition at Missouri State University, where she will study pharmacy science. She hopes to earn a PhD and have a career in pharmacology.
Keck wrote an article on underage gambling that was published in The Dixon Pilot, the local community newspaper, and presented the article to her speech class. Her classmates were surprised to learn that common activities like sports betting were considered gambling.
“Writing the article gave me a chance to express my feelings on a subject most people don’t know much about,” said Keck. “People need to be educated. They may not know they could have a problem until it has really become a problem.”
In her article, Keck wrote that “the teen brain has not been fully developed in the area for making rational decisions. Teens may not realize they have become addicted to gambling or that a gambling addiction is possible.”
The Project 21 Scholarship was developed to educate young people about the issues and dangers of underage gambling. In Missouri, it’s illegal for persons under the age of 21 to gamble in a casino. The competition is open to all Missouri high school seniors planning to attend an institution of higher education in the United States within four years of graduation.
Students were asked to create an essay/article, poster or video aimed at educating their peers about the illegality and dangers of underage gambling. The entries were published or viewed in the students’ high schools in February or March to help educate other students.
The Missouri Gaming Association awards $7,000 in scholarships each year, jointly issued to the winners and the accredited institutions of higher education they select.
“The Missouri casino industry is dedicated to education through awareness efforts like Project 21,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. “Young people are influenced by what they hear from their peers, so Project 21 is a great way for students to learn and share information about underage gambling with their classmates.”
The Missouri Gaming Association (MGA) is the statewide trade association of the Missouri casino entertainment industry and its related professionals. Formed in 1993, the Missouri Gaming Association provides research and information to increase awareness of the economic benefits of Missouri’s casinos.
For more information, visit www.missouricasinos.org.