The South Summit and North Summit School Districts had dozens of students participate in the 2019 Sterling Scholars Program held last month at Utah Valley University. There are 16 subject categories in which a student can apply and students from the entire North Eastern Utah region compete to win the coveted Sterling Scholar award.
Students interested in becoming a Sterling Scholar apply in October of their senior year in high school. Academic, leadership and community service requirements must be met in order to be accepted. Then, in March, the participants attend an intensive, day long competition that involves interviews, performance and improvised presentations.
Amy Regan is the College Access and Readiness Advisor at South Summit High School and says they had 11 students compete this year.
“Had an instrumental music performer. We had a dance performer. We had vocal performance and we had a student in the speech and theater arts. We had two runners up. Our dance scholar is Alexis Crittenden. She was a runner up in dance and she is just a lovely young lady, had a beautiful dance and has done some wonderful things with disabled people helping them to dance for their therapy. Our other runner up within the social science category and that was Gracie Averett and then we had a winner in the English category and that is Hagen Miles."
Regan says the Sterling Scholar contest, unlike sports competition, does not take school size into consideration.
“Sterling Scholar- it doesn’t have anything to do with size. It's region and so you have schools like Altamont and Duchesne competing with Park City and Wasatch and Union, which are huge schools. So, it's kind of an interesting dynamic.
North Summit School District serving the Coalville area is a small 2-A school with a senior class of about 70 students. North Summit Sterling Scholar Advisor, Rhonda Butcher is excited to have had so many participants and winners this year.
“Ok, well we had 14 participants out of 16 categories. All of them are amazing. So, I can't say enough good things about them all. But we did have two region winners. Mi Kayla Richens was our winner in vocal performance. She actually got to perform that night in front of the entire audience and McKenna Stephens was our winner in family and consumer science. Chandler McKnight was our runner up in business and marketing.”
Some students set their sights on the achievement early on in their school careers, some are later in high school. Butcher says most often the kids who plan and work towards meeting the goal do well in the final contest.
“The family consumer science girl had been mentioning this to me since she was in 8th grade. She was going to be the Sterling Scholar and she would visit with me throughout the years-the things she could do, you know in community service. And then my vocal winter, I actually didn't really know her very well up until this year, but she also told me that she had been planning for this since middle school."
As previously reported by KPCW, Wasatch High School had four Sterling Scholar winners. Park City High School had two winners this year.