Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 7, 2020
2020 Wendover High School Sterling Scholars

Wendover High School had seven seniors compete in the Wasatch Front Region of the Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholar Program last month.

The purpose of the Sterling Scholar Awards is to publicly recognize and encourage the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, community service, leadership and citizenship of public high school seniors in the state of Utah.

The Deseret News and KSL Broadcast Group developed the program in the 1960s to focus attention on outstanding seniors in order to recognize them publicly, as well as award cash scholarships and tuition waivers from participating institutions. 

A Sterling Scholar demonstrates excellence in academics, leadership, service, interview skills, and one of 15 specific categories, which include agriculture science, business and marketing, computer technology, dance, English and literature, family and consumer sciences, general scholarship, instrumental music, mathematics, science, speech and drama, skilled and technical education, visual arts, vocal performance, and world languages. 

Candidates for Sterling Scholar are selected by their high school. The Sterling Scholar Awards program seeks to commend and encourage excellence among all students. 

All nominees are judged equally on the basis of scholastic achievement, community service, leadership and citizenship without regard to religion, sex, political preference or national origin.

Below are the seven WHS Sterling Scholar contestants and a brief bio about their academic interests and passions. The bios were provided by SHS. 

Fernando Cuevas

I was born in Salt Lake City but was raised in Wendover. I love animals and would like to pursue my dream of attending college to one day be a veterinarian. Therefore I have taken quite a bit of science classes although they are just the basics I believe that it is a very good start. I have also taken an agriculture science class through Snow College. I have also worked very hard through my past school years. I would just like to show younger grades that doing good in school now comes with a lot of advantages later in the future. I want to set an example to my siblings and let them know that they should never cut themselves short. Agriculture is what I’m interested in and I want to give it a try.

Gracie Cecena 

Having great grades and knowing the content of classes is something that will help me with college, but art is what will help me with my dream. Art is an escape and an enjoyment that some people only get. I may get artist block and maybe not like my piece of art at that moment, but I always return to it someday. I may not have the highest quality of art, but it is still unique in its own way. Just like myself, I am not like everyone else, but there are times when I have similar qualities. I may say words that same way or I might have the same idea, but how I execute the idea or word is different in some ways. That is why I should be a Sterling Scholar. I will bring a different taste to the judges. I will do my best in what I love and will change the look on visual art. It will become just as important as math and English. It will become the new sport of the future. That is what I am willing to do to become a Sterling Scholar. 

Alana Henderson

I am the daughter of Kate and Michael Henderson. I was born at the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City Utah during the 2002 Winter Olympic games. My family consists of my parents, my older brother, my older sister and me, the baby of the family. A giraffe is my favorite animal and I love to participate in sports. Becoming a Sterling Scholar would mean a lot to me because health science is the field I intend on pursuing. I would be one of the first Sterling Scholars to compete from Wendover High School since 2016. This is a great opportunity and I am excited for it. I have a great desire to be the best that I can be. I achieved one of my goals last year by getting on the podium at state track in all four of my events. I am not going to settle for that this year, I intend to take the gold. I have worked hard for it all year and it is mine. Becoming a Sterling Scholar has also been on my goal board since my Freshman year. I have organized opportunities for WHS’s Special education community, Worked for great grades, taken concurrent enrollment classes and have a winning attitude. I can accomplish what I set my mind too.

Mckenna Castagno

I was born in Salt Lake City. I am the oldest of three children, my younger siblings are 10-year boy and girl twins. I enjoy reading, cheerleading, spending time with my family and friends, and traveling to new places. I live right on the edge of the beautiful Bonneville Salt Flats, home of the best sunrises in Utah! I want to become a Sterling Scholar because I want the opportunity to be able to showcase the experiences that I have had throughout high school to; learn, grow, and meet others, as I have participated in a variety of extra-curricular activities. I also look forward to meeting other high school seniors who are reading to take on the next step in our lives. I know that taking part in the Sterling Scholar Award program will also give me invaluable chances to continue to develop myself. I have worked hard over the past four years to push myself to do my best and be proud of my accomplishments. Being a Sterling Scholar is a great way to “cap off” my high school career!

Estefania Duran

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. I belong to a family of six and I am the oldest of four girls. I enjoy helping others deal with anxiety and emotional stress because I have learned a lot coping with my anxiety. I’ve been really passionate about learning about the brain and how it functions and am dedicated to become a school counselor since I love working with young children. I am Hispanic and very focused on representing my culture and tradition. I live in Wendover Utah, a border town, where 72.5% of the people are Hispanic, so it is very important for me to represent my community. As a Sterling Scholar I will have the ability to represent my ethnic background and the community of Wendover which is often underestimated. As a Sterling Scholar I will encourage others to reach their short and long term goals.

Citlaly Lujan

Raised in Wendover, Utah my parents gave me and my two other siblings everything they never had. My parents came to the U.S. to accomplish more in life. My inspiration is my mother. I would love to win a Sterling Scholar to prove to other young Latinos in my community that anything is possible.

Vannessa Torres

I’m a Hispanic female here at the wonderful Wendover High School. One might know me as the first person to ever win a gold medal at FCCLA’s national level. Hello, my name is Vanessa Torres. I am the eldest of four children. My mother has two daughters and my father has three children including myself. After the passing of my mother when I was nine, I moved from Mesquite, Nevada to Wendover, Utah. I was born in Utah at Saint Mark’s hospital during the opening ceremony of the winter Olympics in 2002. My birth date is February 8th; yes, I’m an Aquarius. By this means, I am independent, optimistic, ambitious, and full of potential. Although I was born during the Olympics, I am not at all athletic. Rather than being out on the court, I enjoy cheering my teams to victory. Helping others is one of my rare and unique hobbies. I enjoy reading with kids, sewing, and just about anything related to family and consumer sciences. When I’m not volunteering or cheerleading, I can be caught inside of the library focusing on homework. I have a fun personality, but schoolwork is something I take very seriously. I prioritize myself in maintaining my GPA and strive for a 4.0 GPA every semester. My education and career goals include attending Weber State University and earning a master’s degree in social working and dermatology.


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