Become a Sterling Scholar, and you could win a full ride to any college or university in Utah! The Sterling Scholar program is a statewide competition that rewards high school seniors for academic performance and school and community service throughout their high school career.

There are 15 categories available for students to apply for: Agricultural Science, Business and Marketing, Computer Technology, Dance, English, Family and Consumer Sciences, General Scholarship, Mathematics, Music, Science, Skilled and Technical Sciences Education, Social Science, Speech and Drama, Visual Arts, and World Languages.

Eligibility requirements include an ACT score of 17, difficulty of class schedule, demonstration of expertise in the chosen category, and class ranking. All nominees should have leadership responsibilities, awards for being an all around good student and excellent citizenship. If you decide to apply, make sure to keep track of awards and volunteer work in the community.

Students apply at the beginning of their senior year and are notified early in November if they are accepted into their applied category. However, two students cannot be accepted for the same classification within a school.

Students need to have a portfolio updated and completed, with superior evidence supporting the category they applied for, such as: involvement in their interested category, undertook opportunities, collected pictures and data of effort, leadership, and significant citizenship.

Kim Titus and Jennifer Yates are the Sterling Scholar program coordinators at Kanab High School. Meetings are held every Wednesday night at the high school to help the students assemble their portfolio, inform them of any opportunities available, and prepare for region. The students also have approximately six practice interviews previous to region competition. Guest judges for the practice interviews are usually individuals from the professional community with experience in the business world.

A current math teacher at Kanab High School, Yates was previously a Sterling Scholar in Mathematics, and received half tuition to BYU for her bachelor’s degree. This has given her experience creating the intricate portfolio and understanding the pressure of Region interviews.

“Even though it does take a lot of time, you do learn interpersonal skills,” said Sterling Scholar applicant Jacob Bowman. Bowman has applied for the Science category and spends about two to three hours per week working on Sterling Scholar.

Candidate Patrick Lou says he spends about six to seven hours a week improving his portfolio or doing activities in Mathematics to lengthen his portfolio. Both students agree the time and effort they put into it is worth it!

After a student is selected by their school, they are eligible to go to region. This year it will be held at Southern Utah University on April 6. Yates and Titus will accompany the KHS Sterling Scholars. There will be three judges, usually college professors and community professionals, who will interview the students and analyze their accomplishments and endeavors.

The winner is chosen based on their portfolio and interview, both equally important to be selected as a Sterling Scholar. Judges will announce the winners after the banquet. First place scholars are awarded a half or full ride scholarship to any Utah college or university; with scholarships for two runners-up in each category as well.

“I think it’s the best opportunity for a high school student to further their high school goals, because even if you don’t win, it opens doors,” said KHS science teacher Titus.