Stansbury High School selected 14 seniors to compete in the Wasatch Front Region of the Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholar Program.
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 14 Stansbury High Sterling Scholar contestants and a brief bio about their academic interests and passions.
McKailey Lopez – Instrumental Music
McKailey has had a love for the piano since she started playing at age 2. She loves to perform and share her talent and love of music with others, including through her own music studio. She is involved in many high school and community, service-oriented, and demanding leadership positions and activities. She served in student government at SHS, and is currently a student body officer. When she can learn something new, she tries it and reaches for the stars. She plans to study Music Therapy after graduating high school. Overall, McKailey most enjoys being able to touch others’ lives and cross boundaries through music.
Kathryn Ricks – Family & Consumer Science
Ricks believes that family and consumer science applies to everyone because most everyone has a family and everyone is a consumer. “I have always wanted to grow up and be a mom. It has always been my plan and I am going to pursue it. I want to be able to raise and rear children in a loving and safe environment.” She plans to attend college after high school with a food science or nutrition major. In her spare time she enjoys baking bread and running on trails as well as around the neighborhood.
Ellie Stewart – English
English has always played a large part in Ellie’s life, satisfying both her creative and logical sides. She believes that language is at the heart of all human experience, and that examining its complexities is not only fascinating but also essential for societal connection. She has written short stories and poems for submission to multiple online publications and filled the role of head editor for her school’s literary magazine. Her bucket list items include publishing a novel, visiting Switzerland, and seeing a wild octopus. She will attend Utah State University after high school, furthering her literature and writing education as well as pursuing her interest in biological science.
Joseph Griffith – Computer Science
Joseph is a student who has devoted his high school career to computers. He has completed every computer-related pathway available, along with a few others. Throughout the last four years, Joseph has become efficient in six different programming languages, having at least used many more. Using those programming skills, he has automated an experiment that will be sent to space by NASA, built numerous video games, and is actively programming for a company that designs and produces 3D concrete printers. Not only has he built the logic for many things, but Joseph has also built a few computers and robots. He has helped a team develop, launch, track and recover a near-space capsule and will be doing so again soon. Griffith is a student who can break down problems logically to find the best solution.
Joelle Atkin — Skilled and Technical Science Education
Atkin has lived in Erda, Utah for six years. She enjoys wildlife and the wonder and learning that comes with it. She wrote, “I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given to pursue what I thoroughly love. Classes like Vet-tech that I have taken have helped cultivate this passion I have for this category, and I know that it will help me so much in the future.”
McKay Anderson – Social Science
McKay Anderson is the son of Kyle and Paula Anderson and was born in Monroe, Louisiana but has called Stansbury Park his home for the past 15 years. He’s the fifth of six children. He is currently serving as the Student Body President at Stansbury High and serves on the board of the Utah Chapter for Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. He also participates in Show Choir and is a varsity tennis player and team captain. He plans to serve a mission after graduation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After his mission, he will pursue a degree in Political Science.
Johnathan Shelley – Visual Arts
Having grown up in a family full of artists and musicians, Johnathan has had a passion for the arts his whole life. Specializing in painting, drawing, music, and sketching, Johnathan has devoted countless hours to refining his craft. Johnathan is looking for inspiration everywhere, especially while biking through the mountains or going for a drive. Shelley says he couldn’t have made it this far without the artists and teachers who have helped him along the way.
Andrew Ratnayake – World Languages/Spanish Speaking
Andrew moved from Idaho into Tooele when he was 10 years old and struggled settling into a new environment. As he pursued his studies and passions as well as his authentic self, he found more friends and like-minded people that set a solid foundation for his future success. In his portfolio he says, “I am from the first generation on my dads side to come to America, he’s always taught me to take advantage of every opportunity you can get and not to take it for granted.” He attributes his work ethic and drive to the gratuity that he was taught at such a young age and intends to take it into whatever life throws at him.
Sage Duersch – Dance
Sage has lived in Stansbury Park, Utah her entire life. She has had a passion for dance ever since she was four years old. “It is therapy for me and an amazing art form that creates a unique way to share my stories,” she says. She also talks about how much the Sterling Scholar process has impacted her.“Having the opportunity to be a Sterling Scholar has helped me take a step back and really realize all of my accomplishments through dance and education, as well as gaining many life skills.” Sage has trained in New York City and California. She has won several top scoring awards as well as an award for her own choreography. She will always be grateful for dance and will always have a place for it in her heart. She is planning on going to UVU to major in Early Elementary Education with an Autism Teaching minor, as well as dancing whenever she gets the chance.
Preston Nelson – Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics
Nelson was adopted at the age of two from Chong Qing, China. He really enjoys reading, assembling furniture, and creative writing. Some of his passions include performing live theatre, educating children, and being a friend to everyone he meets. After graduating from high school, Nelson plans on attending Utah Valley University to study theater education.
Boston Bean – Vocal Performance
Boston has been so grateful to have the opportunity with the Sterling Scholar program that she has had. For years, Boston has loved music, and has especially appreciated her last few years in choir and musical theater. This past year, she received two letters for her accomplishments in both areas, and she received several state superior recognitions for her work in musical theater and vocal performance. This fall, she will be attending Utah Valley University to study Music and Psychology.
Brent Beazer – Mathematics
Brent Beazer was born on the best day: November 2, 2004, in the best place: Mountain West Medical Center. It was a sign of great things to come. He has five older siblings with whom he lived in Erda until they started moving away. To soothe the incessant aching loneliness eating away at his heart, he turned to running and has loved it ever since. He has also served in student government and participated in choir. After graduating, he will be leaving to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Puerto Rico before studying education at BYU.
Seth Squires – Business & Marketing
Seth squires is proud to be the Business and Marketing Sterling Scholar for Stansbury High School. He’s been honored to be a member of FBLA for the past four years. Seth was able to compete nationally last year, and will again compete nationally this year. He’s also excited to be the valedictorian of Stansbury High School and following high school will serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tanzania, speaking Swahili. Upon his return, he intends to go to school at BYU, where he is honored to receive the Russel M. Nelson Scholarship
Katlyn Taylor – Science
Katelyn was born in Lakenheath, England. Both of her parents are retired military, and she has moved a total of five different times. She grew up mostly in North Carolina. Moving has allowed her to experience a variety of communities and it has enriched her life. She is very passionate about science, especially medicine. She will major in biological science in college and attend medical school afterwards. Her goal is to become a doctor, specifically an OB/GYN. She wants to be a doctor because she is interested in medicine, but also because she wants to help people. She wants to make the world a better place, even if it is just one patient at a time.