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Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Sterling Scholars from Timpview High have fun taking pictures with a cell phone while waiting to compete Wednesday.

SANDY — Nervously nibbling on brownies as they awaited their Sterling Scholar judges' interviews, teens confessed they would breathe a huge sigh of relief when it was over.

"It's going to be an adventure," said Christopher Johnson, 17, a senior at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden.

A total of 195 senior high school students gathered in the library at Alta High School in Sandy on Wednesday to await final interviews for the scholarship contest, which is sponsored by the Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV.

What do these teens do to quell their apprehension?

"I fidget a lot. I just walk in circles," said Cadence Frisbee, 18, of Ben Lomond High.

Frisbee entered the dance category for Sterling Scholars. She plans to attend Weber State University.

Johnson said he was drinking a lot of bottled water because he was nervous — but soon realized that wasn't a very good idea. He entered the music category and plans to attend the University of Utah.

"I've been nervous all day. I have my crochet in my purse to work on, to keep my fingers busy," said Ben Lomond High senior Amy Ormond, 18, holding up some mint-green squares. She is making a baby blanket.

Ormond entered the family and consumer science category. Her poster details how she coordinates a student service project of knitting hats for needy elementary school children. So far she has overseen the donation of 400 hats.

Ormond aims to attend Southern Utah University.

Evan Nuttall, 17, of American Fork High School, entered the social sciences category because he loves politics. He said he keeps track of what's up with the 2008 presidential race every day and is a big fan of Barack Obama.

"I am inspired by him to believe in America and what we can do," Nuttall said. He wants to attend Brigham Young University.

Kylee Watson, 17, of Riverton High School, flew back from a family vacation in Mexico to take part in the Sterling Scholar interviews. She said it was a bit surreal.

"Yesterday I was on the beach, and tomorrow I will be on the beach," she said. "I've tried not to think about the interview. Whatever happens, happens."

Watson was entering the family and consumer sciences category. She wants to attend BYU.

Melissa Moainvaziri, 18, of Murray High School, entered the social sciences category. She wants to attend the U. and major in international studies.

"I'm always interested in what's going on around the world," she said. "My father is from Iran, my mother is from Portugal."

Nate Gardner, 18, of Woods Cross High School, entered the business marketing category. "It's fun just to get recognized and be out here with everybody," he said.

Gardner runs his own video editing company. He wants to attend BYU.

The Sterling Scholars awards ceremony is slated for March 26 at Cottonwood High School, where 13 scholars and 26 runners-up will be named. In addition, one student from the 13 categories, which range from music to math, will be named as Top Scholar.

Sixteen universities, colleges, business and technical schools offer scholarships to the winners and runners-up.

The students represent 52 high schools, from Cache County to Utah County.

E-mail: astewart@desnews.com