Summit and Wasatch County high schools are part of the Northeast Region for the Sterling Scholars program. Students are eligible to compete in 16 categories - everything from Agriculture Science to World Languages.
Rhonda Butcher is the Sterling Scholars advisor for North Summit High School and one of the Northeast program advisors. The program she says was started in 1962 by the Deseret News and KSL to recognize students’ academic excellence.
Students are encouraged to apply for the program in their junior year. And Butcher says academics aren’t the only thing they’re judged on.
“For instance, science, you know, you could be an all-around academic student that then they would also look at your academics and your accomplishments in science,” Butcher explained. “And then they also look at community service, and leadership. So, you know, what kind of leadership roles have you had in school? What kind of community service have you been involved in?”
Students apply at the start of the school year and put together electronic portfolios. They must write essays to discuss their particular categories, academics, leadership and service.
“And then they can add pictures and design pages to kind of help enhance those things, showing pictures of them involved with awards and certificates,” Butcher said. “And then we do a lot of interview practice with the students between the time they're selected until the actual competition in March.”
Sterling Scholars win scholarship money, but Butcher says it’s also the start of building an impressive resume.
“Just to be a high school selected Sterling Scholar, you're building a great resume, you're getting interview practices,” she said. “And then if you win the region or are a runner up at the region, winners will receive $2,500 cash award. It goes to their institution, but it's on top of any other school other ships that they might get from that institution. And runners up will receive $1,000. And then each institution offers scholarships to Sterling Scholar winners and runners up depending upon each school. Each school is different on what they offer.
Six Park City High School students were named Sterling Scholar winners: Luke Esper for Business and Marketing; Case Schemmer for Computer Technology; Oliver Moore for Instrumental Music; Pearson Ehrich for Social Sciences; Elle Donovon for Visual Arts, and Dominik Jamrich for World Languages.
Park City also had five runners up in the General, Agriculture Science, English, Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics and Vocal Performance categories.
Wasatch High School has three Sterling Scholars. Jonah Stirling won in English; Ethan Scott for the General category; and Hannah Rigby for Voice Performance.
Wasatch also had three runners up in Computer Technology, Science and World Languages.
North Summit High School had two winners, including Morgan Wilde for Agriculture Science and Emma Miller for Speech, Theater Arts and Forensics.
And while South Summit High School didn’t have any winners, five students were named as runners up for Agriculture Science, Dance, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mathematics, and Social Sciences.
The scholarship money comes from the Larry and Gail Miller Foundation.