Anyone who has ever been frustrated by teenagers or despaired of the younger generation ought to spend a little time with the high school students in the Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholar program. They would come away with high hopes and new enthusiasm for today's young people.

Now in its 30th year, the Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholar awards program put on its televised Wasatch Front ceremony Wednesday night.Winners and runners-up in 12 categories ranging from general scholarship to music, math, science, business, language and home economics were chosen from 180 finalists, who in turn were picked earlier from 500 nominees.

As always, it wasns't easy to pick the winners honored Wednesday evening. The judges selected from the ranks of education and private business invariably say the same thing each year - that there is little to choose between any of the finalists and all represent the finest youth in the entire state.

Not only that, but the finalists are well-rounded students. They may be nominated in a specific category, but nearly every one could be judged in the general scholarship classification. Their grades are high in every subject. And they are far more than bookworms or "grinds." Each has an impressive portfolio of other activities and interests, including community and church service, sports, hobbies and often playing musical instruments.

They are simply utterly refreshing as people - intelligent, friendly, cooperative and fun to be around. Their parents are to be congratulated as well for rearing such delightful youngsters.

Because of the distances between some school districts in Utah, the Sterling Scholar program is conducted in five regions, with award ceremonies taking place at different times. The outstanding abilities displayed in the Wasatch Front finalists this week are echoed elsewhere in the state - 95 high schools in all.

It is reassuring that the Sterling Scholars, while they undoubtedly represent the best of the best, are in many ways typical teens. Failure, drugs and rebellion may afflict some of their contemporaries, but the majority of Utah high schoolers share the same values and dreams and are cut from the same general cloth as the Sterling Scholars. That gives the state and the country excellent reasons to have hope in the future.