Several weeks ago, the Sterling Scholars from NS performed better than any other school with ten out of fifteen students placing. With four winners and six runners-up, this makes this year the highest number NS has ever had. They competed on Mar. 21 against thirteen other schools around central Utah in their specific categories.
“We weren’t really surprised because the group is so awesome,” Sterling Scholar advisor Jori Turpin said. “[The students] set the bar really high.”
The winners for NS were Ethan Ostraff (Visual Art), Nicole Day (Business and Marketing), Makenzy Palmer (World Languages), and Jennifer Boekweg (Speech and Debate).
The runners-up included Dustin Angerhofer (Math), Lydia Madsen (General), Abraham Bunting (Music), Melanie Beck (Dance), Avery Briggs (English and Literature), and Mayra Patino (Family and Consumer Science).
“We have dramatically increased the number of winners and runners-up,” Sterling Scholar advisor Ben Cox said. “More than half of our students have placed on average in the past five years, which is crazy.”
NS competes with rural schools around central Utah that are all close in size.
“To have that kind of success against schools that are comparable with us is really gratifying,” Cox said. “Especially schools that have had a better history and a better academic track record than we’ve had.”
The Sterling Scholar Program is a system for awarding academic scholarships and was created by The Deseret News in 1972 to recognize and honor students in a variety of categories.
The winners in the program receive a 1000-dollar scholarship, and nearly all colleges in the state offer additional scholarships. Runners-up also earn scholarships to many schools with an additional $500 scholarship.
“I think that being involved in Sterling Scholar is very rewarding,” Palmer said. “Aside from winning, it also really helped me in preparing for college and with other scholarship opportunities.”
Sterling Scholars are expected to create a portfolio outlining the different projects and activities that they participated in. This process can be time consuming and stressful.
“The portfolio was a lot of work,” Ostraff said. “You have to take a lot of initiative to get your own projects done and be involved.”
Sterling Scholars actively participate in various service opportunities in schools and throughout their communities.
“To me, it helps students get involved in meaningful ways,” Cox said. “That’s where I think it’s most valuable for everyone, for the students and the people who they serve.”
Many Sterling Scholars would agree that being a part of the program is beneficial, regardless of placing.
“Even if I hadn’t won, it still would’ve been helpful for me,” Palmer said. “For sure it wouldn’t have been wasted time.”
Briggs agrees with Palmer that the program is helpful to anyone involved and sees that winning isn’t everything.
“Even if you didn’t win or didn’t place in Sterling Scholar, you still need to understand that you’re super awesome either way,” Briggs said. “Sterling Scholar doesn’t need to be a defining moment in your life.”