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The 2019 Sterling Scholar winners.

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 winners and runners-up of the 2019 Sterling Scholar competition in the Wasatch Front region are as follows:

GENERAL STERLING SCHOLAR AND SCIENCE CATEGORY WINNER:

Alexander Cheng Hillcrest High School Parents: Albert Cheng, Wendy Lu, Sandy

Alexander Cheng

Hillcrest High School

Parents: Albert Cheng, Wendy Lu, Sandy.

Involving myself in scientific research has made it apparent that pursuing biomedical research and machine learning as a career would be a gratifying challenge.

Science is enriching because of its prevalence. Humans have developed science as a means of explaining the world, and in the process enriched our understanding of it. Every innovation that improved our lives or solved crises has come through breakthroughs in science, whether they be in energy, the environment, computer science, or health. Through my pursuits in science, I will be able to tackle humanity’s most critical issues and strive to leave a positive, long-lasting legacy.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 35 composite ACT; class ranking is 1 out of 436.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Research Scholar at the Research Science Institute (RSI) at MIT; Chosen as 1 out of 80 high school students worldwide.

SCIENCE RUNNERS-UP:

Alexandria Hong Skyline High School Parent: Andy Hong
Gauri Garg Logan High School Parents: Vikram and Prafulla Garg

Alexandria Hong, Skyline High School. Parent: Andy Hong.

Gauri Garg, Logan High School. Parents: Vikram and Prafulla Garg.

BUSINESS & MARKETING WINNER:

Teresa Gao Timpview High School Parents: Changju Gao and Yi Song, Provo

Teresa Gao

Timpview High School

Parents: Changju Gao and Yi Song, Provo.

My interests are diverse — I play viola, speak German, and make art — and I believe that business is the best way in which I can coalesce my passions.

To me, business is not just the act of buying or selling but also facilitating better economic and social interactions between people.

Whether I become a business proprietor or a stay-at-home parent, I believe that an increased understanding of finances, people skills, and other aspects of business will improve my ability to help others.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 36 composite ACT; 1 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: FBLA Nationals Spreadsheet Applications 2nd Place.

BUSINESS & MARKETING RUNNERS-UP:

Koby Justin Pack Weber High School Parents: Justin and Tesha Pack
Bailey Van Wagoner Copper Hills High School Parents: Ray and Eve Van Wagoner

Koby Justin Pack, Weber High School. Parents: Justin and Tesha Pack.

Bailey Van Wagoner, Copper Hills High School. Parents: Ray and Eve Van Wagoner.

COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY WINNER:

Amanda Insalaco Salem Hills High School Parents: Mike and Amy Insalaco, Spanish Fork

Amanda Insalaco

Salem Hills High School

Parents: Mike and Amy Insalaco, Spanish Fork.

I fell in love with computer technology one day when I was eight years old. I accompanied my father to work and job shadowed him at the MTC in Provo. I was fascinated with the language teaching and learning tools that he was developing.

One of the many things that have intrigued me the most about computer technology is the diversity of the discipline. No other industry is so broad. With skills in computer technology, a person can develop apps for education, for entertainment, or for personal improvement. Graphic designers, animators, web developers, and so many others must have strong computer technology skills.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 29 composite ACT; 1 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: National Semifinalist in the Broadcom Masters National Science Fair. Honor roll student 2015-2019.

COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY RUNNERS-UP:

Levi Hilton Orem High School Parents: John and Lani Hilton
Caroline Jarman Brighton High School Parents: Paul and Sarah Jarman

Levi Hilton, Orem High School. Parents: John and Lani Hilton.

Caroline Jarman, Brighton High School. Parents: Paul and Sarah Jarman.

DANCE CATEGORY WINNER:

Hannah Hardy Olympus High School Parents: Doug and Sue Hardy, Salt Lake City

Hannah Hardy

Olympus High School

Parents: Doug and Sue Hardy, Salt Lake City.

My involvement in dance has enriched my life by developing some of my strongest qualities including determination, creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Dance has taught me how to be decisive and intuitive when approaching any challenge. I know these important lessons will continue to enrich my life and help me to succeed in college.

I am confident dance will test my physical and mental capabilities and teach me important lessons about myself, relationships with others and my place in the world.

I believe through dance, worldwide problems can be resolved.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.9903; 30 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: BYU Contemporary Dance Scholarship Recipient (2019); BYU Contemporary Dance Intensive Scholarship Recipient (2017, 2018).

DANCE RUNNERS-UP:

Karli Ludwig Bountiful High School Parents: Keith and Vickie Ludwig
Eden Collings Lone Peak High School Parents: Bianca and David Collings

Karli Ludwig, Bountiful High School. Parents: Keith and Vickie Ludwig.

Eden Collings, Lone Peak High School. Parents: Bianca and David Collings.

ENGLISH CATEGORY WINNER:

Dylan McCuskey Logan High School Parents: Brian McCuskey and Kristine Miller, Smithfield

Dylan McCuskey

Logan High School

Parents: Brian McCuskey and Kristine Miller, Smithfield.

I love the magic of an English classroom, where the lines of a Dickinson poem cast a spell, empowering students to conjure up diverse interpretations while suspending judgment. The symbols of an Orwell novel generate animated discussion, allowing students to synthesize their perspectives.

I worked as an editor on my school’s newspaper, which involved writing, soliciting, and editing articles. These opportunities have given me important editing experience, as well as a unique insight into the minds of my peers.

Literature compels readers to see the world through one another’s eyes.

SCHOLARSHIP:

Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 36 composite ACT; 1 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Science and Politics Editor, Logan HS Student Newspaper (12th grade); Features Editor, Logan HS Student Newspaper (11th grade).

ENGLISH RUNNERS-UP:

Emma Flattery Weber High School Parents: Melissa and James Flattery
Lauren Lengel Skyline High School Parent: Nicole Lengel

Emma Flattery, Weber High School. Parents: Melissa and James Flattery.

Lauren Lengel, Skyline High School. Parent: Nicole Lengel.

FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES CATEGORY WINNER:

Kenzie Wilkinson Salem Hills High School Parents: Jeron and Heidi Wilkinson, Salem

Kenzie Wilkinson

Salem Hills High School

Parents: Jeron and Heidi Wilkinson, Salem.

Family and Consumer Science is the reason my future has direction and stability. It’s the reason I’m excited to graduate and go out into the world.

Being involved with the FACS program has allowed me to provide leadership and support to those working within families and communities, and help them to achieve the optimal quality of life.

I now appreciate the importance of the family unit, practice community involvement, and embrace the diversity and value of all people.

The final way my life will be enriched … is through the understanding that a person’s uniqueness gives them great value.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.97; 24 composite ACT; 60 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America member of the month February 2018. Awarded gold medal in the 2017 Utah Regional FCCLA Star Event fashion design competition.

FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES RUNNER UP:

Anne Romney Skyline High School Parents: Heidi and Josh Romney

Anne Romney, Skyline High School. Parents: Heidi and Josh Romney.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC CATEGORY WINNER:

Elizabeth VanDam Olympus High School Parents: Chris and Ellen VanDam, Holladay

Elizabeth VanDam

Olympus High School

Parents: Chris and Ellen VanDam, Holladay.

Some of the greatest fulfillment I have experienced has come when others have expressed to me what my music meant to them: how it brought them to tears, or lightened their heart, or simply touched them in a way nothing else could.

Ultimately, to uplift and serve others is the greatest thing I or any musician can ever do, and the beauty of it is that in giving ourselves to bless others, we ourselves are also blessed and enlightened.

The possibility of being able to make a difference, however small, in someone else’s life has been and will always be the greatest motivation for me to make music, and will continue to enrich my life.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 35 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Honorable Mention, UMTA Senior Performance Competition (2017, 2018). Second place, Steinway Junior Piano Competition (2018). First place, Weber State Piano Festival (2018).

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC RUNNERS-UP:

Lillian Hatch Stansbury High School Parents: Brendon and Diana Hatch
Avery Gunnell Alta High School Parents: Kevin and Andrea Gunnell

Lillian Hatch, Stansbury High School. Parents: Brendon and Diana Hatch.

Avery Gunnell, Alta High School. Parents: Kevin and Andrea Gunnell.

MATHEMATICS CATEGORY WINNER:

Megan Zeng Skyline High School Parent: Larry Zeng, Salt Lake City

Megan Zeng

Skyline High School

Parent: Larry Zeng, Salt Lake City.

Math serves as the foundation of modern society through its abstract representations of real-world relationships. Economics, engineering, and almost all other disciplines utilize math to model relationships and develop predictions for the future, developing connections that emphasize the importance of mathematics in relation to other disciplines. As a result, the significance of interdisciplinary environments for innovation and impact has grown to reflect the increasing importance of mathematics in modern society. This is a direction that I strongly support because of my interest in innovative interdisciplinary work, so I plan to contribute by engaging in research with a focus on math.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 36 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA): Lead programmer and engineer for National Champion team. University of Utah Science & Engineering Fair (USEF): 2nd Place in Physics, Astronomy, and Math.

MATHEMATICS RUNNERS-UP:

Alan Zhao Hillcrest High School Parents: Shaoqing Song and Fuli Zhao
Lucy Ward Bountiful High School Parents: Raymond and Beverly Ward

Alan Zhao, Hillcrest High School. Parents: Shaoqing Song and Fuli Zhao.

Lucy Ward, Bountiful High School. Parents: Raymond and Beverly Ward.

SKILLED & TECHNICAL SCIENCES CATEGORY WINNER:

Ethan Rasmussen Lone Peak High School Parents: Megan and David Rasmussen, Cedar Hills

Ethan Rasmussen

Lone Peak High School

Parents: Megan and David Rasmussen, Cedar Hills.

Skilled and technical education is a lifestyle. It’s a life beyond the classroom. While I appreciate all that I learn in my math, English, reading, physics, biology — and even choir classes — skilled and technical education takes me one step further: into real life. Real life lessons don’t get a grade and there are no assignments due in the next class; rather, my skilled and technical education is constant learning motivated by my own endless passion: and ranching is my passion.

Knowing that I can spend the rest of my life with my seat in a saddle, and my hands in the dirt, gives me unbounded excitement. I dream of how I can do my part to make the future better.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.997; 34 composite ACT.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Rancher, Bar 10 beef ranch, 1,000 head of Red Devon cattle, 250,000 acres. 1st Place, Utah State University Biotechnology Academy, Center for Integrated BioSystems.

SKILLED & TECHNICAL SCIENCES EDUCATION RUNNERS-UP:

Ashley Howell Hillcrest High School Parents: Matthew and Hillary Howell
Samuel Logan Bennett Payson High School Parents: Kimberley and Brian Bennett

Ashley Howell, Hillcrest High School. Parents: Matthew and Hillary Howell.

Samuel Logan Bennett, Payson High School. Parents: Kimberley and Brian Bennett.

SOCIAL SCIENCE CATEGORY WINNER:

Jelena Dragicevic Granger High School Parents: Vladimir and Vukosava Dragicevic, West Valley City

Jelena Dragicevic

Granger High School

Parents: Vladimir and Vukosava Dragicevic, West Valley City.

When I look around my Yugoslavian community, my diverse high school, and my diverse city, I realize that numerous people are doing their best to stand against the currents of political, social, and economic injustice.

Most youth have to sacrifice their sleep and education to help provide for their families. However, I have come to appreciate this unsheltered life. It has provided me with an awareness of which injustices plague our world, from corrupt wars to poverty, and it has made me appreciative of the rich variety of culture, languages, and history everybody has to offer.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 32 composite ACT; 1 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Granger’s Debate/Speech Team (Captain); West Valley City Youth Council (Mayor); Granger’s Model U.N. Team: Luxembourg “prime minister.”

SOCIAL SCIENCE RUNNERS-UP:

Kate Annie De Groote Skyline High School Parents: Barbara and Michael De Groote
Jane Drinkwater Orem High School Parents: Peter and Mary Drinkwater

Kate Annie De Groote, Skyline High School. Parents: Barbara and Michael De Groote.

Jane Drinkwater, Orem High School. Parents: Peter and Mary Drinkwater.

SPEECH/THEATER ARTS/FORENSICS CATEGORY WINNER:

Andrew Wesley Carter Logan High School Parents: David Carter and JoLyn Carter, Logan

Andrew Wesley Carter

Logan High School

Parents: David Carter and JoLyn Carter, Logan.

Debate allowed me to explore my interests and beliefs in ways I had not done before. Perhaps most importantly, it helped me discover my passion for public policy, law, and the social sciences. Rather than simply hearing about these topics, debate gave me the opportunity to experience them through rigorous discussions and creative exchanges of ideas. As I became engrossed in topic after topic, from nuclear power to civil disobedience to plea bargaining, my plans for the future began to take shape. Debate has helped guide my college selection as well, pointing me in the direction of a university with strong programs in the social sciences.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 34 composite ACT; 1 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: President of the Logan High debate team; Earned Premier Distinction award (highest distinction offered by the National Speech & Debate Association).

SPEECH/THEATER ARTS/FORENSICS:

Rachel LeMmon Bountiful High School Parents: David and Michele LeMmon
Leila Mujic Granger High School Parents: Redzo and Hanka Mujic

Rachel LeMmon, Bountiful High School. Parents: David and Michele LeMmon.

Leila Mujic, Granger High School. Parents: Redzo and Hanka Mujic.

VISUAL ARTS CATEGORY WINNER:

Pablo Cruz Ayala Bountiful High School Parents: Raul Cruz, Rosa Ayala, Salt Lake City

Pablo Cruz Ayala

Bountiful High School

Parents: Raul Cruz, Rosa Ayala, Salt Lake City.

My passion for painting stemmed from a compulsion to paint portraits of my family and friends, because I want to remember their expressions of love, joy and compassion. Putting paint to canvas is like writing in stone, encapsulating memories with each brush stroke. I am given the greatest gift of solace with every painting I create.

The joy of spreading art has become that lightning spark for me, and passing on my story I hope could ignite others like me. I want to show my family, my community, my sister that I have proved myself not as a lost cause, but as success for others.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.870; 27 composite ACT; 112 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Solo Exhibition, Solace; Artist in Residence Program Recipient at BDAC.

VISUAL ARTS RUNNERS-UP:

Savanna Randall Mountain View High School Parents: Shannon Randall and Jeremy Randall
Hongying Alana Liu Hillcrest High School Parents: Zhiwei Liu and Aihua Tong

Savanna Randall, Mountain View. Parents: Shannon and Jeremy Randall.

Hongying Alana Liu, Hillcrest High School. Parents: Zhiwei Liu and Aihua Tong.

VOCAL PERFORMANCE CATEGORY WINNER:

Jessica James Lewis DaVinci Academy Parents: John and Melissa Lewis, Eden

Jessica James Lewis

DaVinci Academy

Parents: John and Melissa Lewis, Eden.

I can’t wait to continue my long-standing love affair with music. I vividly remember sitting cross-legged on the floor, nose-to-screen with my Grandma Penny’s TV. I had a rigorous regimen of marathoning the 1965 televised recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I fell in love with the way music told a classic story and gave it new life. Music is the living, breathing entity that contains our most basic form of humanity. I have been and always will be drawn to the arts, to the expression of the human spirit: It’s what makes our life on Earth worth living. It has immeasurably enriched mine.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.841; 27 composite ACT; 10 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2017 Jimmy Awards Best Musical Theater Actress nominee and scholarship recipient.

VOCAL PERFORMANCE RUNNERS-UP:

Christian Affleck Alta High School Parents: Steve and Catharina Affleck
Kade Bennett American Leadership Academy Parents: Nathan and Leslie Bennett

Christian Affleck, Alta High School. Parents: Steve and Catharina Affleck.

Kade Bennett, American Leadership Academy. Parents: Nathan and Leslie Bennett.

WORLD LANGUAGES CATEGORY WINNER:

Josephine Holubkov West High School Parents: Richard Holubkov and Dai Cui, Salt Lake City

Josephine Holubkov

West High School

Parents: Richard Holubkov and Dai Cui, Salt Lake City.

I am drawn to linguistics because each language is a new cipher containing unique suffixes, syntax and indicators.

Thoroughly understanding a language is a real-world logic puzzle, with countless exceptions, tricks and nuances.

I have discovered that although linguistics is a lesser-known area of study, it’s actually used by many industries, from artificial intelligence and translation at Google to cryptanalysis in the NSA.

I hope to broaden my knowledge of linguistics to fulfill my personal and professional goals.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 36 composite ACT; class ranking, 1 out of 578.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: National Security Language Initiative for Youth, awarded by Department of State.

WORLD LANGUAGES RUNNERS-UP:

Lauren Roberts Lone Peak High School Parents: Thomas and Jennifer Roberts
Matthew P. Neff Tooele High School Parents: Cathy and Patrick Neff

Lauren Roberts, Lone Peak High School. Parents: Thomas and Jennifer Roberts.

Matthew P. Neff, Tooele High School. Parents: Cathy and Patrick Neff.

GAIL MILLER COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD WINNER:

Emily Erekson Viewmont High School Parents: Carolyn and Keith Erekson, Centerville

Emily Erekson

Viewmont High School

Parents: Carolyn and Keith Erekson, Centerville.

My position as a member of the State Executive Conference Planning Committee for Utah’s youth councils has taught me how to be an effective leader and given me the courage to be a voice for issues that are important to me.

The late nights trudging through the cold, the endless struggle to receive donations, and the weeks of preparation as a volunteer for my high school’s Sub-for-Santa fundraiser all became worth it when I handed a young girl her Christmas wish list in paper, bows, and bags. Through this experience, I quickly became aware of the financial hardships burdening so many local families. This influenced me to start a new project in my community to address these needs.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 4.0; 30 composite ACT; 1 class ranking.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Selected State Artist, All-State Springville Traveling Art Show.

PHILO T. FARNSWORTH GOVERNOR'S AWARD WINNER:

Divyam Goel West High School Parents: Ramesh Goel and Anushree Saraogi, Holladay

Divyam Goel

West High School

Parents: Ramesh Goel and Anushree Saraogi, Holladay.

My passion for the sciences, particularly the biological sciences, stems from early exposure to the world of research.

Comment on this story

Science activities and interest enriched my childhood and opened up paths to a multitude of possible lifestyles and careers. A STEM intensive childhood is best, in my opinion, because it is tied closely to fields such as writing, communication, the arts and more. The creativity and aptitude that STEM leaves us with is perfect preparation for any journey in life, and I think that my continued interest and love for the sciences will allow me to go wherever I want as I move into my University years.

SCHOLARSHIP: Cumulative GPA is 3.9932; 35 composite ACT; class ranking, 29 of 578.

AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2018 3rd Place Award, Microbiology Category; GENIUS Olympiad 2017 Silver Medalist, ‘Sciences’ Category.