Usually, it's two kinds of high school students who get all the publicity the athletes and the trouble-makers. Yet there are other youngsters in those same schools who deserve special notice. They are the academic achievers and leaders.

The idea that scholastic feats, leadership, and service ought to be recognized and rewarded is behind the annual Deseret News-KSL Sterling Scholar Awards program an academy award-style event to honor some of the top high school seniors in the state. The competition is now in its 27th year.Congratulations to all the Wasatch Front winners in Wednesday night's program held at Cottonwood High School. A winner and two runners-up were chosen from fifteen finalists in 12 academic categories such as math, science, language, music, business, general scholarship, etc. Each school nominates candidates in every one of the 12 category.

Judges from the education world and private industry working in their area of expertise pick the finalists and then the winners. Similar programs were held earlier honoring students in four other regions northeast, central, southwest, and southeast Utah. All of Utah's 40 school districts took part.

Anyone who has experienced first-hand the caliber of young people who take part in the Sterling Scholar program comes away impressed and with a feeling that the future of the country is in good hands.

Judges invariably say two things: One, that it is so hard to choose the winners because the overall level of talent is so remarkably high, and two, the experience is rewarding and unforgettable. Many offer to serve again and again.

The theme is excellence and this year's Sterling Scholars are no different. They are extraordinary young people. The comforting thing is that there are so many of them in every Utah school.