Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Myles Flygare, Heather Orr, Ella Leonelli, Courtney Furniss, Nate Richens, Lexia Hogan, Courtney VanDerwerken, Brianna Ellison, Rylee Dangerfield, Aspen Walker, Taya Unruh, Allison Miles, Josh Bothell

May 21, 2020
Tooele High School Sterling Scholars 2020

13 Tooele High School seniors recognized for academics, leadership, citizenship, and service 

Tooele 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 13 THS Sterling Scholar contestants and a brief bio about their academic interests and passions. The bios were provided by THS. 

Myles Flygare 

Instrumental Music

I have lived in Tooele for the last six years and have been immersed in music my whole life. While my passion for all things music has stuck with me for as long as I can remember, my love for performing began in 2nd grade when I began taking piano lessons. As I matured in my knowledge of music theory, technique, and musicianship, I started to expand my skills to other instruments when I joined the elementary band in 6th grade. I chose the percussion section because it seemed to have the most freedom, I wasn’t confined to one instrument all the time and variety was more appealing to me. I have been in band leadership all four years of high school ending with band president. After high school, I plan on pursuing a medical degree in orthopedics from the University of Utah, but music will always be a part of my life.

Heather Orr 

Family and Consumer Science

I was born and raised in Tooele, Utah, a place that I am proud to call my home. I am not the average high school student; in fact, I believe I am quite different from my peers in many aspects of my life. For instance, I have always had a high sense of responsibility which can be demonstrated by my GPA, my extracurricular activities, and my afterschool job that I am determined to excel at. If I am not completing a project for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America or staying caught up on my seemingly endless amounts of homework, you can find me at Sav-On Pharmacy where I am working to complete an externship to become a pharmacy technician. I have served as the FCCLA president all through high school and I currently serve on the National Honor Society and will graduate with the honors diploma. Past high school, I plan to study to be a pharmacist or a family and consumer science teacher.

Ella Leonelli 

Skilled and Technical Science

I was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Tooele on a farm. I have had the opportunity to pursue many of my passions and learn how to raise competitive livestock such as lambs, goats, hogs, and horses. Alongside these skills, I have also pursued drafting and learned how to draft on varying software programs to produce unique and individualized 3D models. I am the current president of National Honor Society and plan to graduate with the honors diploma. I have served as president of the She-Tech council, president of the math club, a member of Future Farmers of America all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA all through high school. I received academic all state for swimming.  My plans after high school will be to attend Utah State University in Logan and get my degree in environmental engineering. 

Courtney Furniss 


I was born a dancer, and have not been able to stay still for very long. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but I moved to Tooele when I was four years old. I am the second oldest of nine children. Dance is my time to feel free and confident in myself. I have always been a very hard worker and very dedicated to what I try. I have danced all through high school in both dance company and ballroom dance. I choreograph dances for the youth in my community and when not dancing, I sing with the show choir. My plans after high school are to continue on the path to become a nurse at southern Utah University  and then pursue a degree to be a nurse practitioner. 

Nate Richens 


I was born in Clackamas Oregon in 2001. I am an avid martial artist and have been actively training for over 3 years. It has kept me healthy and taught me many valuable lessons such as: how to work hard and stay humble in your expertise. I teach self-defense to the youth in our community and received my Eagle Scout in 2018. My plans after high school are to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering at USU Logan.

Lexia Hogan 

Visual Arts 

I was born in Tooele. I have lived in the same tiny town outside of Tooele my entire life and art has always been my escape. Growing up my family was extremely involved in sports, and participated in lots of them when I was little. It was then that I discovered the freedom of painting, and drawing, and how expressive it can be. I’ve been focused on design my whole life, what makes one piece engaging over another, and the study of different styles. In my opinion, art is the purest form of connecting people. I have been involved in student government in high school and am now the student body historian. I will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and the honors diploma. My future plans are to attend Brigham Young Univesrsity and possibly pursue a degree in Law or Psychology.

Courtney VanDerwerken

Vocal Performance 

I was born in Tooele. Some of my favorite hobbies and interests are singing, piano, and dancing. I love to play sports including: volleyball, basketball, and tennis and I am a member of the THS cross country team. I love fashion and interior design. I am a youth advocate for Tooele County Resist Alcohol and Drugs – Prevention Advocacy Coalition which helps educate teens about addictive substances and I am serving on the board for “Communities That Care” for Tooele City. I have maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school. I also participate as a National Honor Society officer and I am enjoying serving as show choir president. I participated in the homecoming pageant and was awarded Miss Congeniality. In the future, I would like to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would like to attend BYU and further my education. Someday, I would like to marry and have a family. I love to travel and I look forward to seeing more of the world.

Brianna Ellison 

World Languages

I was born in Salt Lake City. I’m the youngest in my family and have three brothers. I have always been interested in languages, and wanted to learn as many as I could; probably because I’ve been around a variety of languages since I was young. I studied Spanish in junior high school, French in high school, and went to Germany for three weeks, where I tried to learn as much German as I could. I have been trying to continue to learn German by speaking in German to a friend I met while there. I plan on mastering those three languages, and then trying to learn more so that I can understand and talk to many different people from different backgrounds than myself. I will graduate with the honors diploma and plan to go to BYU where I will major in English. 

Rylee Dangerfield 

Social Science 


I was born in Tooele at the old Tooele hospital. I have lived here my whole life, but I love to travel anytime I get the opportunity. I have two older brothers and one younger sister who I am very close with. My parents have always been my biggest role models and have taught me how to be the ambitious person I am today. I have found an amazing kind of fulfillment from service and building relationships with all kinds of people in my community. I have been in student government for all four years of my high school career and I currently serve as the student body inter-organizational council president. I am the secretary for National Honor Society and I have maintained a 4.0 GPA all throughout high school. I plan to graduate with the honors diploma and after high school will head to USU Logan where I will major in English literature.

Aspen Walker 


My life has been a roller coaster of sorts. I was born in Bountiful with parents who had a passion for traveling. Being 17 currently, I have lived in nine different houses and visited every continent in the world, excluding Antarctica. Whilst living in foreign countries, more often than not, the primal language was not ours. Learning to appreciate the English language for all it provided has been a part of my life that others did not and rarely ever have the opportunity to fully understand. I have been an active participant of the swim team and am a swim captain this year. I have maintained a 3.9 GPA and will graduate with the honors diploma. For now, I am joining the military and will complete my degree later. I plan to go into nutritional science or mathematics with a minor in English.

Taya Unruh 

Theater and Debate 

I was born in Bountiful. When I was young, I was super shy and always had a hard time talking to anyone, which made it hard for me in school with both teachers and strangers. Theater helped draw myself out of my shell bit by bit and I became able to try new things and talk to people more freely. Onstage I’m given the opportunity to be a part of creating a beautiful story that allows me to connect not only to other individuals on the stage, but with those in the audience as well. I have been the drama club historian and choreographer as well as dance captain. After high school, I plan to attend the University of Utah and continue my education in theater. I also plan to become an occupational therapist.

Allison Miles 



I was born in Bountiful and have lived in Tooele all my life. Throughout high school I have taken as many advanced math classes as I could fit into my schedule. In doing so, I have found a passion for math. This passion has led to me finding a direction for my future career and my college courses as I have decided I want to study engineering. I have also been able to use my passion for math to serve others as I have spent many hours tutoring my teammates and friends. I have maintained a 4.0 GPA while playing sports year-round, often with overlapping seasons. I earned academic all-state and will graduate with a 4.0 GPA. My future endeavors will take me to the Utah State University where I plan to study biomedical engineering or mechanical engineering. From there I plan to study orthotics and prosthetics.

Josh Bothell 

Computer Science 

I was born in Tooele. I am a creative, curious, and hardworking person. As a child I watched my father scrape his way from construction work, to receiving a college degree and a career as a nurse. Watching him work more than 40 hours per week on top of getting a degree as an adult has always deeply inspired me to take my academics seriously. I received a 33 on the ACT and will graduate with a 3.7 GPA. I interned in the information technology department for Tooele County School District and am an avid computer science hobbyist. I was a competitor and qualifier in debate and acted in many plays for THS. After high school I plan on attending UtahValley University where I will get my degree in computer science.


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