Since each of the 51 high schools across the Wasatch Front, participating in the Deseret News - KSL-TV Sterling Scholar Awards, nominates outstanding high school seniors in each of 12 categories, Sterling Scholar sponsors do a little agonizing each year over the categories. They check with the education community to ensure that the descriptions are current and compatible with Utah's core curriculum standards and changing educational curriculums.

Again for 1998, the all-around General Scholarship award will be moved out of the first level of competition. Instead, General Scholarship will be an MVP award to be decided among the final 12 winners of the other categories. The winner of this award will receive $2,500 in total cash awards as well as scholarship opportunities from all major Utah universities and colleges.After semifinal and final competitions have taken place, additional judges will select this overall winner from the unannounced winners in the 12 categories. The 1998 Sterling Scholar General Scholarship Award will be named in the final moments of the Awards Ceremony on April 1, after all category winners and runners-up have been recognized. There will be no runners-up to the General Scholarship Award.

Following are descriptions and requirements for each of the 12 categories:

English: For scholarship and achievement in one or more of the following areas: creative writing, English, journalism, literature and related subjects. Two examples of work, either published or prepared as classroom assignments, are submitted. There will be an additional four, single-sided portfolio pages allowed for this submission. The quality of thought, maturity, originality and technical skill will be considered in selecting the winners.

Mathematics: For scholarship and achievement in mathematics and related areas. Scholars may exhibit outstanding records in mathematics competitions and evidence of potential contributions to mathematical knowledge. Nominees should be prepared to calculate a mathematical equation in the judging interviews. Students should submit state and national math scores and other standardized mathematics test scores.

Social Science: For scholarship and achievement in one or more of the following areas: American government, government, geography, history, economics, social issues, world affairs and/or related subjects. Scholars should have a broad background in the social sciences and demonstrate, exemplify and practice good citizenship. The nominees may have shown inventiveness in relating social studies to existing problems and in translating concepts into experiment.

Science: For scholarship and achievement in advanced work, inventiveness or outstanding service in one or more of the following areas: biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, science and related subjects. Imagination, originality or special contributions will receive major consideration in judging. Nominees should indicate in their portfolio the area of greatest interest.

Foreign Language: For outstanding scholarship and persistence in the study of a foreign language in Utah schools. Students should have made unusual contributions to the field of foreign language study or demonstrated increasing interest in such studies at their school. Rankings received in foreign language festivals and similar activities are submitted. Students also submit a brief resume of any particular language projects or adventures in which they have participated. Nominees should be prepared to demonstrate their ability to communicate in the language of speaking, listening, reading and/or writing.

A foreign-born student attending an English-speaking high school may not use English or their native tongue as a "foreign language."

Technology Education: For outstanding scholarship and achievement in one or more of the following areas: agriculture sciences, automotive sciences, computer technology, drafting (CAD), electronics, manufacturing, media (photography and video) and related fields. The nominee may have won awards in competitions, devised equipment or materials for school use or shown unusual progress in this study. Please note: Interview exhibits must be limited to those that can be carried in the arms of the nominee in one trip, without the help of others. The use of carts or similar devices is not allowed.

Family, Consumer & Health Sciences: For outstanding achievement in one or more of the following areas: child development, clothing and textiles, consumer education, foods and nutrition, health sciences and other life skills.

Nominees are not expected to have experience in all listed fields, but expertise in at least one discipline. Nominees may have won awards in youth organizations, other competitions or may have used skills to render conspicuous service to their schools, church or other organizations. Please note: Interview exhibits must be limited to those that can be carried in the arms of the nominee in one trip, without the help of others. The use of carts or similar devices is not allowed.

Business and Marketing: For scholarship and achievement in one or more of the following areas: business management, accounting, data processing, word processing and other fields related to business occupations. Nominees may have won awards in competitions or served well in office technology. Nominees are also encouraged to provide evidence of successful outside activities that support business career development and interests.

Speech/Drama: For scholarship and achievement in either debate, drama, theater, public speaking or other forensic events. Nominees are not expected to have experience in all listed fields, just expertise in at least one discipline. Nominees should include in their portfolios two examples of their work or descriptions of their activities related to this category. They should also be prepared to give a brief demonstration of public or oral communication, appropriate to their specialty, approximately two to four minutes in length.

Visual Arts: For scholarships and achievement in creative expression in one or more of the following areas: drawing, artistic photography, commercial art, mixed media, graphic art, painting, sculpture and related fields. The nominee may have demonstrated professional potential in one or more of the visual arts, contributed outstanding service to the school and successfully competed in district and state art shows. Please note: Interview exhibits must be limited to those that can be carried in the arms of the nominee in one trip without the help of others. The use of carts or similar devices is not allowed.

Music: For demonstrating outstanding scholarship and achievement in one or more of the areas of music. Exceptional talent in composition, vocal or instrumental music will be considered, but service to the school or community through this talent also will be among determining qualifications. Nominees should be prepared to demonstrate their musical talent during a period of four minutes by playing an instrument or singing.

Dance: For demonstrating exceptional skill, achievement and creative expression in artistic dance. Portfolios include training received, dances choreographed, major performance and dance service rendered to the school and community. Nominees should be prepared to demonstrate their technique and choreographic skills by performing a self-choreographed solo composition, approximately two minutes in length. Nominees will also be asked to respond to an improvisational problem during part of the interview. No performance videos are required.