Stansbury High School had 13 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 14 SHS Sterling Scholar contestants and a brief bio about their academic interests and passions. The bios were provided by SHS.
Siera Adams — Speech / Theatre / Forensics
Adams and has lived in Erda, Utah, her entire life. She really enjoys the outdoors and anything artistic. “I have worked extremely hard in high school and feel that I have gone above and beyond especially in the area of theater arts,” she said. Adams wrote in her portfolio: “Becoming a Sterling Scholar will help to highlight the work I have put in to learn in many areas of theater so that I can be further prepared as I study it in college. Theater is something I truly enjoy and I am so lucky that I have had so many opportunities within it.”
Lindsey Allen — Family and Consumer Sciences
Being the oldest of four siblings helped Allen develop an attitude of service. “I am the oldest of four siblings, and the only daughter in my family,” she wrote in her portfolio. “I have an expansive passion for serving others! I believe that we were each given hands to help serve others in any form possible. After finishing high school, I plan on serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attend BYU to become a registered pediatric nurse.”
Kimbel Duffin — Vocal Performance
Duffin said when she moved to Utah from California she was pleasantly surprised by the influence of the arts and the important role it plays in the lives of many people in Utah. “Because of the opportunity I have had to see the difference music can make in the lives of others,” wrote Duffin in her portfolio. “I have become very grateful for the role it plays in my own life.”
Lillian Hatch — Instrumental Music
Hatch said she and music are inseparable. “I am a Sterling Scholar because music is an intrinsic part of my education, my future — it’s a part of me,” she said. “When it comes to things I’m passionate about, I tend to be extremely meticulous and detail oriented. I record all my master classes and write notes in a designated notebook as I relisten. I do not just mean that I am organized. My notes are jammed with cross-references, table of contents, and color coding!”
Wyatt Jensen — World Languages
Jensen said he is an avid scouter and active student. “I believe limits are determined by one’s willingness to grow. I value education and I believe this award will allow me to further my goals in acquiring more schooling,” he wrote in his portfolio.
Madelyn Johansen — Mathematics
“My goal is to study pre-med in college after I serve a full-time religious mission, and eventually go to medical school and become a surgeon. Sterling Scholar is a prestigious program I’m grateful to have had the chance to participate in,” wrote Johansen in her portfolio.
Makenzi Knudsen — English
Knudsen said that she plans to continue her learning and development of the English language in college, most likely while studying journalism or technical writing. “The honor of Sterling Scholar will aid me in my dream of transforming my passion into my career and livelihood,” said Knudsen.
Tanner Mears — Science
“I am the Science Sterling Scholar because of all the unnoticed things I do to be successful academically and in life in general,” wrote Mears in his portfolio. Mears also said obtaining a great education has pushed him to go beyond his comfort zone.
Sergio Reyescordova — Computer Technology
Reyescordova said he loves to travel around the world. “I’ve had the privilege to live in Colombia for four years and in Peru for a couple of months. Living there, I managed to experience many cultures and traditions unlike here in the U.S., and even technology is different in a vast way,” he wrote in his portfolio. “I am the Computer Technology Sterling Scholar because I want to show the world that even though you aren’t perfect, and there are going to be people that overpass you, you can still aim for the best.”
McKenna Rogers — Skilled and Technical Sciences Education
Rogers said growing up in a small town like Erda didn’t inhibit her from dreaming big. “I have always been very athletic and intelligent,” Rogers wrote in her portfolio. “As a student at Stansbury High School, I suffered a variety of injuries while running for the cross country team. These injuries introduced me to the medical field and eventually to the career that I wish to pursue — a sports medicine doctor.”
Aydin Sessions — Social Science
Sessions said she gained her passion for history and politics from her parents. “Throughout my educational career, I continued to pursue that passion,” she wrote in her portfolio. “I am a student who loves to learn and consistently strives to better myself. Sterling Scholar will open further opportunities for myself, represent my school and community, and utilize my own abilities and experience to better the field of social science.” She plans to pursue a career in medical radiology.
Brynn Squires — Visual Arts
“I have dreamed of being a Sterling Scholar ever since my two older sisters became Sterling Scholars in the World Languages and English categories,” wrote Squires in her portfolio. “However, by the time my senior year rolled around, my passion for visual arts became the most significant reason for me to apply.”
Aria Thorpe — Dance
Thorpe started dancing at the age of three. “I loved it from the beginning. Although I enjoyed going to class each week, it wasn’t until first grade that I really developed a passion for it,” Thorpe wrote in her portfolio: “Midway through that year, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Doctor appointments became a normality, and dancing soon became what helped me through it. Since then, dancing and choreographing have eased my nerves and brought me joy. I hope to continue dancing in college and share my passion with others in my profession.”
Mia Thurber — Business and Marketing
Thurber wrote in her portfolio: “As a young third grader, I remember reading about the Sterling Scholars from each of the schools in the area and thinking they were superstars. I hung up the article on my wall and knew I wanted to be a Sterling Scholar to get my picture in the paper. Now nearly 10 years later as I understand the purpose of Sterling Scholar, I have sought this opportunity to display my effort towards the pursuit of excellence in my high school career.”