The 1988 crop of Sterling Scholars share a common trait besides being brilliant. Each winner was positive the spotlight would shine on another at Cottonwood High School Wednesday night.
"When I walked into the auditorium, I was the only calm one from my school. I knew I wouldn't win," reported a beaming Terrian Poulson, Weber High School, the foreign language Sterling Scholar. "When he (Gov. Norm Bangerter) was reading the bio of the winner, I thought it was impressive, but I didn't think it was me. But when he mentioned sign language, I knew I'd won!"And so did everybody in the auditorium. With an electric smile going from from ear to ear, Terrian took her place on the dais, bouncing as she walked. She never stopped bouncing all evening.
While Terrian was the only one who bounced her way to her place in the sun, the other 11 Sterling Scholars and 24 runners-up were equally stunned and happy.
"I'm so excited. I didn't think I'd get it. Everyone in the visual arts was so good, and it's such a competitive field," said Anneliese Warnick, Brighton High School, Sterling Scholar in visual arts.
Setting her sights on a career in the fine arts, although she has considered becoming a physician, Anneliese thinks the judges must have liked the portraits she did of her family. They included one of her father in pastels and another of 11-year-old sister, Christy.
While the Wellesley College-bound senior's impressive list of achievements, including studying art in France last summer, testifies to her hard work, she also credits two art teachers, Connie Borup and Marjorie McClure, for being instrumental in her achievements. They encouraged her to work at and develop her talent, she said.
Samantha Lee, Granite High School, credits television with launching her on the path to academic excellence. Immigrating to the United States at age 10, she learned English by watching television. But she has no time for it now; she studies three or more hours every night.
A finalist in general scholarship, Samantha won a special Sterling Scholar award for overcoming great obstacles to earn her exceptional academic credits. "I feel so honored," said the 18-year-old, who plans a career in materials science and engineering.
R. Burns Israelsen, Sky View High School, faced a different sort of obstacle on his way to becoming the 1988 Sterling Scholar in mathematics. Just before his portfolio was due, he dislocated his knee playing basketball. With his leg propped up, he pieced together his portfolio, relying on his mother, Kathryn, to do the leg work.
A fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Israelsen, like the other Sterling Scholar parents, was jubilant when her son's name was read. "Everyone could tell where a mother was sitting because of the squealing," she said.
Ronald Cook was also understandably proud of his daughter, Raquel, American Fork High School, the Sterling Scholar in business education. Like the other students who received the winner's envelope, Raquel devotes hour upon hour to her studies, her dad reported.
"I've never had to push her to study. She's very self-motivated."
Planning to enter Brigham Young University this fall, Raquel hopes to sometime study at Oxford University and dreams of a career that marries business and English.
With chemistry, biology and calculus as his favorite subjects, Luke Romero, Roy High School, the Sterling Scholar in general scholarship, is heading toward a career in medicine, even though he comes from a family of lawyers.
His straight "A" average has earned him several scholarships, but he is leaning toward accepting Stanford University's offer.
Luke said his general scholarship award comes from taking an interest in a wide range of subjects. He searches out subjects that promise to make his life more meaningful. "I told myself that my life is precious and it shouldn't be taken for granted. I want to live it to the fullest. If I don't, I'll be empty."
Judging from their sterling lists of accomplishments, the elect 12 who were named the 1988 Sterling Scholars have learned Luke's lesson well.