Southern Utah University is preparing for the annual Sterling Scholar competition to be held on April 4, 2019. Two hundred and three students from 18 high schools and five school districts will meet on SUU’s campus in Cedar City to complete the final round of judging. The day’s events will include the competition, a banquet held in honor of the finalists and their families, to be followed by the Awards Program in the evening.

This statewide academic competition recognizes the achievements of Utah’s high school seniors in the following 15 categories: Agriculture Science, Business and Marketing, Computer Technology, Dance, English, Family and Consumer Sciences, World Languages, General Scholarship, Mathematics, Music, Science, Social Science, Speech and Drama, Skilled and Technical Science Education, and Visual Arts.

Representing Kanab High school will be Dustin Bistline-Visual Arts, Dylan Bistline-Science, Nellie Bowman-World Languages, Alexis Haycock-Mathematics, Jamie Keller-General Scholarship, Michael Little-Skilled and Technical Sciences, Alix Nokes-Speech & Drama, Emilie Oblad-Computer Technology and Morgan Stewart-Business & Marketing.

Representing Valley High School will be Kelsie Barrick-Music, Logan Dean-Mathematics, Rebekah Esplin-Visual Arts, Mackenzie Morgan-Family & Consumer Sciences, Orrin Wood-Business & Marketing.

Each of the 203 finalists will be interviewed by judges and given time to explain their personal achievements and awards compiled in their digital portfolios. The winners will be chosen based on their experience and skills in scholarship, leadership and citizenship. A winner and two runners-up in each of the categories will be chosen.

These deserving scholars will receive a Sterling Scholar pin or charm along with a scholarship award. Finalists from each high school will also receive a Sterling Scholar Certificate. The three judges in each category come from local communities, Dixie State University, Snow College and Southern Utah University.

Many colleges and universities in Utah offer scholarships to both the winners and the runners-up to help these students in achieving their goals. Some of these scholarships include cash amounts up to $2500 or full tuition waivers. The support from the higher educational institutions in the state is much appreciated and well used by Sterling Scholar recipients.

Since its inception, the program has expanded from its origins in Salt Lake City to include five region-wide competitions throughout the state that continues to publicly recognize outstanding seniors and encourage academic excellence.

The program began in the early 1960s, when Steve Hale, a Deseret News columnist; Lavor Chaffin, an education reporter at the Deseret News; and Keith West, the Deseret News director of marketing realized that while their newspaper had been recognizing outstanding athletes for years, there was no mechanism in place to recognize outstanding scholars. Together with the Utah Board of Education, they developed the Sterling Scholars program.

We applaud all those who labor to make this program a reality each year. The parents and teachers of all the nominees have dedicated untold hours to ensuring the success of these students. We give a heartfelt thanks to all that have donated so much time and energy into providing this opportunity for the best and brightest in Utah.

Congratulations to all the nominees and we wish you the best in all your future endeavors.