The Deseret News and KSL Broadcast Group developed the Sterling Scholar program to focus attention on outstanding high school seniors. The purpose is to recognize them publicly as well as award cash scholarships and tuition waivers from participating institutions.
The 2018 Sterling Scholar winners and runners-up in their respecive categories are:
GENERAL STERLING SCHOLAR AND BUSINESS & MARKETING WINNER:
Vikrant Ragula, Skyline High School
Parents: Sanch Datta and Ragula Bhaskar, Salt Lake City
I love to innovate, I love a challenge, and I am a problem solver.
I want my inventions to make a big difference in people’s lives when I bring them to market. I have filed three patents and am working on a few other unique ideas.
I enjoy developing ideas because of the creative effort needed, the ability to learn new concepts, the effort needed to convert ideas into practical products, and the excitement that comes when ideas become reality. I enjoy the hands-on creativity and problem-solving that comes with innovation. I wish to continue this process in the future because the potential impact on people’s lives is very motivating.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 35 composite ACT, 1520 SAT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: AP Scholar with distinction; National AP Scholar, co-president, Future Business Leaders of America; founder of Ragula Innovations LLC; filed 3 patents; president and build team captain, Skyline FIRST Tech challenge Robotics.
BUSINESS & MARKETING RUNNERS-UP:
Hea Akau, Syracuse High School. Parents: Lesieli Feavea Akau and Tevita Tuiono Akau, West Point.
Peyton Williams, Herriman High School. Parents: Derek and Julie Williams, Riverton.
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY WINNER:
Cassandra Ivie, Copper Hills High School
Parents: Brian and Deborah Ivie, West Jordan
Computer technology has enhanced my life by giving me perspective and skills to increase my capability in a technical world.
The investment of others in my success has had a profound influence on my life. I am now seeking to use the skills I’ve developed, in and out of computer technology, to return on that allocation of resources. I am training youth to run my engineering curriculum and make my Incredible Machine project sustainable for years to come.
Because I have been given much, I can now be the “investor” contributing to future success.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulativel GPA is 4.0; 34 composite ACT. Class ranking, 1.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2018 National Youth in Action STEM Pillar winner; first place National Technology Student Association; firstplace, Utah DECA.
COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY RUNNERS-UP:
Kanishka Ragula, Skyline High School. Parents: Sanch Datta and Ragula Bhaskar, Salt Lake City.
Keerthana Ramalingam, American Preparatory Academy. Parents: Kandaswamy Ramalingham and Tihar Lakshmanan, Sandy.
Kara Komarnitsky, Hillcrest High School
Parents: Kris and Katherine Komarnitsky, Draper
Dance is touted as a mode of expression for inner thoughts and a method for sharing love with the world. It is known for providing a lot of mental and physical benefits since it is a form of exercise that is also fun and creative. All of these things are ways in which dance enhances my life, but they just scratch the surface of what it really means for me.
In all of my experiences, nothing is ever as hard as dance, not academia, not any other sport, dance is the hardest thing that I do. And that is truly why it enriches my life, because challenge is the method to reach future growth and dance challenges me to grow in different ways every single day.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.991; 35 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: president of the Hillcrest High School Dance Company; assistant teacher/lead choreographer for Creativity in Action dance company; awarded scholarship to BYU Contemporary Dance Co. Intensive.
Abigail Peterson, Cottonwood High School. Parents: Scott and Natalie Peterson, Murray
Emily Bates, Maple Mountain High School. Parents: Kyle Bates and Cia Bates, Spanish Fork.
Cole Griffiths, Skyline High School
Parents: Rex and Marianne Griffiths, Salt Lake City
Language is arguably fundamental to the human condition. It gives shape to emotions and ideas. There is no mystery as to why language is the one thing found in common across all existing human cultures.
I know that by learning how to effectively write and read in the English language, I have become a more thoughtful, constructive and better person as a result.
Literature was arguably the foremost source of my moral education. It was reading books (and not just those of a religious-philosophical bent) that gave me a sense of right and wrong and informed my sense of empathy.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 33 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: co-editor-in-chief, Skyline Horizon; acceptance to Stanford University; president, National Honors Society Aquilifer Chapter; president, Skyline Social Justice Club.
ENGLISH RUNNERS UP:
Anthony Giorgio, Academy for Math, Engineering and Science. Parents: Mark and Shanna Giorgio, West Jordan.
Mabel Wheeler, Mountain View High School, Parents: Dean and Zina Wheeler, Orem.
FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES WINNER:
Maria Jacobs, Bountiful High School
Parents: Mark and Darcy Jacobs, Bountiful
Something I love about Family and Consumer Sciences is that everything you learn about is made to be useful in everyday life! My mom is a homemaker and was such a good example to me; becoming a good mother is a top objective for my life plan! I loved taking FACS classes because they are preparing me for things that I knew I was going to have to know later in life, and right now!
Because of (being student body president) and my other leadership opportunities I have learned how to take charge, make things happen, communicate, make others feel included, and help my peers contribute to our objectives.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 28 composite ACT. Class ranking, 1.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) president; Bountiful City Youth Council mayor; National Honors Society president; student body president of Mueller Park Junior High.
FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES RUNNERS-UP:
Larissa Anne Chappell, Springville High School. Parents: Lester Lamont and Celeste Elizabeth Chappell, Springville.
Jacob Steward, Provo High School. Parents: Travis and Margaret Steward, Provo.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC WINNER:
Madilynn Riley, Lone Peak High School
Parents: Doug and Amanda Riley, Highland
Music has been my constant rock, my love for most of my life. Since I got my first thirty-second sized violin at age 2 1/2, nothing has given me greater joy and greater passion. Although music has humbled me, pushing me to look beyond myself, it has also given me a boost of confidence. Not many people can say they’ve found their calling in life, but from the moment I figured out how much I loved my viola, I found my calling.
My passion has been fueled by amazing people I’ve been able to work with. After I graduate I plan on … pursuing my music even further as a career, while teaching others to love music just as my teachers and peers did for me.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.930; 28 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Utah All State Orchestra 2016, 2017, 2018, principal violinist All State Orchestra 2017, 2018. Invited to Juilliard Masterclass in New York City.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC RUNNERS-UP:
Karen Lela Ferry, Box Elder High School. Parents: Benjamin and Margaret Ferry, Corinne.
Cameron Smith, Spanish Fork High School. Parents: Ryan and Lauren Smith, Spanish Fork.
Thomas Draper, Mountain View High School
Parents: Thomas and Susan Draper, Orem
My involvement in mathematics enriches my life in many ways. First of all, it makes life much more fun, because I enjoy the puzzles and complex problems which mathematics provides.
While math is beautiful and interesting in itself, it also provides tools for solving many real problems.
Mathematics makes statistics possible, which is a key component of all experimental sciences, like analytical chemistry.
Computers are designed based on logic, so a knowledge of mathematics and logic helps me to understand the workings of computers, both in hardware and in software, which enriches my life because of what a vital part of life computers are today.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.9; 36 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Qualified for AIME five times; qualified for USAJMO twice; first place, State Math Competition 2017; first place HMMT; third place Intermountain Math Competition.
Laura Landon, Bountiful High School. Parents: David and Angella Landon, Bountiful.
Ian Goodwin, Timpview High School. Parents: Scott and Kristin Goodwin, Provo.
Matthew Tran Radovan, Ridgeline High School
Parents: Caroline Tran and Michael Radovan, Nibley
Scientific research has repeatedly brought advancements that greatly benefit society — for example, thanks to research in medicine, we now live longer and more comfortably. I would love for my passion in neuroscience to have similar impacts on society. For instance, one problem that has caught my attention with its potential impacts is perception — the way our brains turn input into mental models. I also believe that developing a greater understanding of perception will significantly change both robotics in industry and our understanding of our brains.
Additionally, we will be able to better understand how human perception works and gain greater insight into our minds in general.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; Class ranking, 1.
1570 SAT score. AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Research Science Institute Scholar at MIT; first place overall champion at Utah State University Academic Olympiad. Harvard Medical School researcher.
McKenna Hunt, Lone Peak High School. Parents: Jarrod and Karen Hunt, Highland.
Alexander Sun, Hillcrest High School. Parents: Karl and Lisa Sun, Sandy.
SKILLED & TECHNICAL SCIENCES WINNER:
Siddhant Devaru, Skyline High School
Parents: Arun and Supriya Devaru, Midvale
I believe that Skilled and Technical Sciences will enrich my life in many ways. I am interested in studying aerospace engineering and the experiences I have had in this category have helped.
I … have immense passion for Engineering in particular because I fell in love with spaceflight from a young age. I grew up watching space shuttles, which combined the two things that fascinated me the most in the world: aircraft and spacecraft. This fascination with engineering has helped me remain determined in the face of long odds, and also entranced me because of the different ways the machines that fly work. And it will continue to fascinate me for years to come.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulativel GPA is 4.0; 34 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: First place in Webmaster, 2016 TSA State Conference; first place in Energy Sources, 2015 TSA State Conference; Skyline TSA chapter vice president.
SKILLED & TECHNICAL SCIENCES RUNNERS-UP:
Brandon Carroll, Layton High School. Parents: Dave and Cheri Carroll, Layton.
Cole Steven Monson, Springville High School. Parents: Merrianne and Steve Monson, Springville.
SOCIAL SCIENCE WINNER:
Natalie Tonks, Lone Peak High School
Parents: Paul and DeLaina Tonks, Draper
I am a complete political junkie. It’s an illness, really. It’s to the point where I volunteer at county conventions for counties I don’t even live in. A picture of Carly Fiorina and I watches over me as I sleep, political yard signs adorn my room, and I quite literally use gerrymandered districts as creative coloring books.
My deep-seated curiosity of the world, diligent work ethic and intense gratitude for school means that I spend a lot of time discussing, questioning and learning from my teachers inside and outside of class. Real world experience is my lifeblood, so I call my representatives, pick up internships, organize Capitol Hill field trips, and ask questions like it’s my job.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulativel GPA is 3.987; 30 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program participant; Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership representative; Jason Chaffetz Youth Civic Engagement Award recipient.
SOCIAL SCIENCE RUNNERS-UP: Jeffrey Olsen, Bountiful High School. Parents: Jeff and Carla Olsen, Bountiful.
Piper Christian, Logan High School. Parents: David and Marianne Christian, Logan.
SPEECH/THEATER ARTS/FORENSICS WINNER:
Sofia Rahaniotis, Brighton High School
Parents: Valerie Rahoniotis and George Rahaniotis, Cottonwood Heights
To act is to live. Through theater, we experience second-handedly the triumphs and trials of the human condition, which have characterized humanity since its beginning. We gain: a vital understanding of history and its significant and inevitable connection to life; profound insight and refreshed awareness about elements of the world to which we may not be frequently exposed; a deeper empathetic capacity for people and their circumstances; a broader and more intricate comprehension of our society and of our social, political and economic situations. All this we gain through the tears and laughter evoked by the purest and most enlivening form of entertainment.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 30 composite ACT. Class ranking, 1.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Brighton High School senior class president.; Brighton High School National Honors Society member. best actress in Region One-Act Play, 2016, 2017.
SPEECH/THEATER ARTS/FORENSICS RUNNERS-UP:
Daniel Anderson, Logan High School. Parents: Martin and Anne Anderson, North Logan.
Virginia Pohl, Skyline High School. Parents: John and Susan Pohl, Salt Lake City.
VISUAL ARTS WINNER:
Bailey Hatcher, Westlake High School
Parents: Korin and Kelly Hatcher, Lehi
Involvement in the visual arts will not only highly impact my life, but become it. Every aspect of my life is already dedicated to the arts, whether that be making my own art, planning and organizing art exhibits or making professional connections in the visual arts field. I use art as a way to deal with overwhelming emotions and stressors in my life in a healthy way. I have had some pretty big downfalls in my life these past few years, but art has always been a sort of therapy for me. Around ninth grade, when my depression led me to be suicidal, I threw myself into art.
Becoming an artist has now transformed from a rather fictitious dream to a delicious reality.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.987; 30 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Artwork chosen out of 60,000 portfolios for National AP Studio Art Exhibition; Juror’s Award of Merit, All-State High School Springville.
VISUAL ARTS RUNNERS-UP:
Caroleine James, West High School. Parents: Julie Swallow and Stephen James, Salt Lake City.
Rebekah Campbell, Provo High School. Parents: Joseph and Julie Campbell, Provo.
VOCAL PERFORMANCE WINNER:
Alta High School
Parents: John and Kristen Wray, Sandy
I have found that, through singing, I can express things I am either too scared or too inarticulate to convey in spoken words. Singing takes me from the nervous, self-conscious shell that I often have and bring about emotions I keep hidden. This can come about in songwriting stage performance, and all forms of singing. I am preparing for a career in commercial music and musical theater. In both aspects, I have freedom to express feeling in any way I choose, and I plan to use it to its greatest potential. My life will be full of song and thus be enriched through the freedom, influence, and power it brings.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.945; 29 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Lead in school musical three times; Alta Idol first place; Canyon District Idol second place; NJHS activities chair; PLT service officer.
VOCAL PERFORMANCE CATEGORY RUNNERS-UP:
Miriam Hall, Springville High School. Parents: Steven and Deborah Hall, Springville.
Anna Anderl, Cottonwood High School. Parents: Owyn and Laura Anderl, Murray.
WORLD LANGUAGES WINNER:
Trevor Miller, American Fork High School
Parents: Clayton and Loralee Miller, American Fork
Pursuing foreign languages in my life has given me a greater sense of purpose in all that I do and say. Spending time learning methods of communication and ideals held behind all that has allowed me to open the doors to a world full of new people and perspectives.
I have acquired habits that have been applied in nearly all other subjects, and I have grown to love so much more fully. Or in other words, jag älskar fremmende språk. Populos alienos amare consuevi. Und ich bewundere die Gelegenheit, weiterzumachen. I will always appreciate the chance to continue.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 34 composite ACT. Class rank, 1.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Competed in speech, interview, culture bowl and poetry at BYU German Fair, receiving highest marks (2016, 2017).
WORLD LANGUAGES RUNNERS-UP:
Sterling Larson, Hillcrest High School. Parents: Kai and Dorothy Larson, Sandy.
Bailey Thomas, Cyprus High School.Parents: Tyler and Angela Thomas, Magna.
ZIONS BANK COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD:
Bethany Anderson, Green Canyon High School
Parents: Roger and Tirzah Anderson, Logan
Creating interactive musical programs for the elderly in my community has proven to be one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I began this project after working with a local hospice organization which allowed me to see more clearly the physical, social, mental and emotional challenges that accompany individuals in advanced age. I believe there is great power in music — power to increase feelings of connection and to improve quality of life. While researching this idea, I discovered that music can help decrease perception of physical pain, increase feelings of well-being, and enhance memory and cognition.
SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.976; 26 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Created an interactive musical program for community assisted living centers and nursing homes; Green Canyon High School ambassador.
PHILO T. FARNSWORTH GOVERNOR'S AWARD:
Makita Franklin Erni
Northridge High School
Parents: Matthew Frank Erni and Cymberly Lynn Erni, Clinton
Unlike most people in my engineering classes, I draft for fun and to solve problems, not just because it is an assignment.
My involvement in Skilled and Technical Sciences will enrich my life because it is going to be my future career. I plan to become a Mechanical Engineer who makes CAD files daily, and involvement in this category has only reinforced that goal.
The skills I have used to make the things that go in my portfolio will be expanded and then used to make the world’s future as an engineer.1 comment on this story
I look forward to solving the challenges awaiting me in the future, but I am not waiting. I am working on solutions now.
Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 33 composite ACT.
AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Weber State University scholarship; President’s Volunteer Service Award; STEM kits for Davis County Lending Library; Northridge VEX Robotics team captain.
Correction: A previous version of this article said Peyton Williams, Business & Marketing runner-up, is from Riverton High School. He's a student at Herriman High School.