Sterling Scholars spent some golden moments with judges Wednesday.

At Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, Timpview in Provo, and Ogden High, the top echelon of the Wasatch Front's students did their best in 12 areas of scholastic achievement (See winners in accompanying story).Winners from the three regions will be spotlighted in the annual Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholars 28th award ceremony April 12 in Cottonwood High School, 5715 S. 13th East. The ceremony will be telecast live at 7 p.m. on KSL/TV, Channel 5.

A visit to Skyline Wednesday was a repeat of years past - an interlude with students who are long on talent and self-discipline, short on insecurity. Their portfolios bristled with accomplishments not only in their own areas of competition, but in citizenship, overall scholarship, community service, extracurricular activity and student leadership.

Biding their time while waiting their turn, a group from East High School chatted in a hallway. Tracy Grikscheit, the entrant in the English category, was looking forward to an opportunity to discuss her favorite poem, "Bahia Brazil," by Raymond Carver.

Mike Hanna came sax-in-hand for his music solo in hopes judges would be impressed. He plans to attend a music school in Boston before embarking on a career as a musician - preferably as a performer.

Kelly Clark showed that certain Sterling Scholars spark when she talked about her involvement in a business. She has designed and sold stickers for the Heidi Ann Co. and thinks the experience will help her found and operate her own business - after college, of course. She likely will attend the University of Utah.

Trevor Black, who has been involved in youth theater for several years, also drew on past experi-ence for his Scholars drama presentation. Part of his excerpt from "Children of a Lesser God" was done in sign language.

"I have worked with deaf people. I like the thought of deaf people being able to act," he said.

Were they nervous?

"Not too," said Amber Crellin of Granite as she waited the judge's attention. "But, if they ask me chemistry questions . . . " she confided, shaking her head.

She and other female winners in the science area dispel the myth that science is not for girls. She wants to go into materials science, keeping her options open at the same time for a possible career in medicine.

"The idea that girls don't do well in math and science is definitely a misperception," she said. "I've never been humored in any of my classes, though most of my classmates were boys."

Not all the students said they were college-bound. Granite's Alvin Mer-rill carried a car carburetor he had rebuilt, extolling its virtues as the sort that a teenage vehicle buff would love. He will go to a technical institution and plans to make a good living in the automotive field.

Also in the industrial arts section was Skyline's Steve Brown, whose ingenious chair-stool was a copy of a 1910 version - with the finish still drying.

While the students may have been only mildly flapped by the thought of facing the judges, it was a tense time for Donald Lee Smith, adviser to the East High scholars.

"This makes ME nervous," he said. Eighteen years of working with the Sterling Scholars, however, has convinced him of one thing. "I hear people say they are concerned what this generation will do to them. I've never seen a collection of so many great minds. I can tell the world they have nothing to be afraid of in these kids."

Parents paced the halls, too, while their students took their turns. Heidi Clark and one daughter, Heather, waited anxiously while another daughter, Kelly, did her best in the business category for East High.

"It's a great program," the mother said. "It's a neat opportunity for these kids, whether they win or lose."

Alica Wolter, Olympus, shucked her shoes for the walk down Skyline's long hall but had them on when she went to meet with the art judges, Richard Christenson of the Deseret News and Mack Stevenson, Ogden art teacher. Her chic black outfit and headband matched the black portfolio that carried about a dozen examples of her art work. They represented several art forms and Alica told judges she is still feeling her way among the art media, but likes water colors. She'll go to Utah State University, wants to be an animator.

Sitting on a bench outside the speech/drama room, Lee Wright of Woods Cross wasn't talking to himself - not really. He was practicing his recitation of "This Is a Test," a Steven Gregg piece.

Not such a bad idea, really, time proved, as Daniel Pankratz of Tooele emerged confessing he'd suffered a temporary "memory block" as he performed a dramatic reading from "Diary of a Madman."

Daniel Prestwich of Skyline had two items for speech/drama judges Charles Lynn Frost and Roger Nelson - Marc Antony's dramatic farewell to the fallen Caesar and a modern excerpt from "Pfieffer's People." Classical roles call for a bit more from the actor, he told judges, "because you have to think more about what you're saying so you make sense to the audience."

Having finished his recitations and answered the judge's questions, he did what most Sterling Scholars do - rushed off to the next activity. In his case, a play practice. What else?