The Deseret News-KSL Sterling Scholar Awards program, now in its 30th year, was honored Saturday for its encouragement and recognition of excellence in scholarship, leadership and service.

The program, conducted throughout the state in five geographicalareas, received a community contribution award from the Utah Association for Gifted Children during its midwinter conference at the Airport Hilton Hotel.

In 1962, the Deseret News and KSL developed the program to focus public attention on the outstanding performance of the state's best scholars. As a result of its success along the Wasatch Front, programs were organized in four other areas in northeast, central, southwest and southeast Utah.

More than 1,200 high school seniors are selected each year as Sterling Scholar nominees based on their scholarship, leadership and service to the community and school. In each of the five regions, a winner and two runners-up are selected in each of 12 categories of high school studies.

Others honored Saturday by UAGC included Ballet West for Children for its touring group which takes an educational program to all Utah school districts; Charles Moray, artistic director of the Pioneer Theater Company; the Utah Symphony In-School Concert program; and Thurl Bailey, forward for the Utah Jazz, for his work with children.