All that glitters is not gold. Sometimes it's sterling as in Sterling Scholars, who glittered and shone in their preliminary judging interviews Wednesday.

The 1988 lineup of quality students was judged in three locations: Skyline High School, Ogden High School and Timpview in Orem. The 180 winners will compete April 6 in final judging at Skyline, and on April 13, the annual Deseret News-KSL Sterling Scholar Awards ceremony at Cottonwood High School will spotlight the overall winners.Wednesday, Kimberly Phippen of Cottonwood High School wasn't looking that far ahead, but she felt good about the interview she'd just had with the homemaking education judges at Skyline.

"I wasn't expecting the kind of questions they asked," she said, shifting her basket of display items. "They wanted to know how I would react if it was suggested that home economics be eliminated from schools. I told them I would really oppose such a thing. Everyone needs to learn to sew and cook just for their own survival."

Like many Sterling Scholars, Kimberly has more than one iron in the fire. She hopes to combine her interest in art with her homemaking interests to become a designer.

Around the corner, Eric Maxfield was waiting his turn with the social sciences judges. He felt he'd already had a major treat in winning the school competition at Cottonwood. "That's the real honor," he said. "Anything else is a bonus."

Susie Inskeep, Cyprus, was a bit nervous as she waited in line after Eric but was ready for whatever was coming. She attributed her presence among the Sterling Scholar competitors to a teacher, Mr. Jones "the best history teacher in the state. He communicates information so well that even kids who don't like history can learn it." She hopes for a future in political science and has plans for law school. Unlike Anne Boleyn, the hapless second wife of Henry VIII, Heather Paul of Highland didn't plan on losing her head. She had selected a reading from Boleyn's story, "Anne of a Thousand Days," for one of her drama presentations. She said she had had lots of fun in the competition but also had done a lot of hard work. She isn't afraid of hard work, however, she said, and is looking forward to studies in foreign relations at the University of Utah and then perhaps the Peace Corps.

That kind of altruistic attitude is common among the Sterling Scholars, said Janet Palmer, who recently retired after teaching at Westminster College for many years. She has judged the English portion of the contest for "probably 10 years, and I'm always so inspired and impressed."

Her partner in the English judging department, LuAnne Marsh, commented on how much it shows when the students on the other side of the table have the support of their schools.

Support for Rachel Keisker came not only from her school, but from her father, Richard, who shared her anxiety as she waited to impress the speech/drama judges with her monologue from " 'night Mother."

Rachel was one of the South High School contingent putting in the school's last Sterling Scholar appearances. The school will close at the end of this academic year.

Keisker had kind words for "a terrific program. Just the process of preparing a portfolio and getting ready for interviews would be valuable, if they went no further." The process is an exercise in "learning who you are and where you have come in the first 18 years of life," the father said.

A bevy of young people from Olympus High School arrived in a group to take their turns in the 14 Sterling Scholar categories. Robert McDermott was the obvious industrial arts representative, toting a professional-looking cabinet of his own making.

And the basket of homemade bread, hand-dipped chocolates and items for interior design clearly marked Cindy Montgomery as the home economics candidate. There was no need to ask if she made her fashionable black-and-white outfit. In this category, the contestants routinely make their own clothing.

Also in the group were Stephanie Sweeten, whose program for speech/drama included a piece from "Children of a Lesser God" in sign language; Robert Page, the business competitor, who would like to combine business with his interest in mathematics; Jeff Iwasaki, who talks knowledgeably of policy making and the need for Americans to participate intelligently in the governmental process; and Ken Smith, who faced the prospects of a science interview with a pocket full of computer chips and transistors with which he planned to wow the judges.

Michelle Peterson, Highland, was a classic example of why little girls should not quit taking piano lessons when the excitement wears off. "I started when I was 5 and wanted to quit clear until I was in high school," she said. Wednesday she played Schumann and Prokofiev pieces for the judges and expressed a true love for music. She plans to attend Dixie College.

It was simple to tell the Granger High School team. They arrived sporting blue carnation boutonnieres and a lot of school pride.

There was, in fact, a lot of that going around Wednesday at the three schools where Sterling Scholars were spending some golden moments.