GCHS had three first-place winners and four runners-up at the competition, which was held at the College of Eastern Utah in Price.
Grand’s three winners are students who have excelled in a variety of school activities including sports, debate team, school clubs and other programs throughout their high school years. Lillian McKinlay-Jones, the daughter of Stan Jones and Karen McKinlay-Jones, took first place in the General Scholarship category. Audrey Baird, daughter of Mike Baird and Donna Metzler, placed first in the Science competition, and Miranda Gill, the daughter of James and Tiffany Gill, won in the Visual Arts category.
The four runners-up for Grand are equally accomplished. The four runners-up were: Tailor Talbot, the daughter of Ryan and Lisa Talbot, who competed in the Foreign Language category, Jesse Sheets, the son of Kevin and Dawn Sheets, who was a candidate in English, Levi Sjoblom, the son of Lee and Debbie Sjoblom, who competed in Trade and Technology, and Stephanie Irvin, the daughter of Ron and Mary Irvin, competing in Speech and Drama.
The seven GCHS seniors were among more than 60 12th-grade students who competed from Grand, Carbon, Emery, and San Juan counties.
“Congratulations to these students, who have shown that hard work and dedication do pay off,” said GCHS Principal Stephen Hren, who attended the competition. “The choices they’ve made academically are going to pave the way for their future.”
Hren said that the strong showing “reinforces the quality of education we have in Grand County schools,” and he encouraged GCHS students to take advantage of the many academic opportunities that are available.
“I’m so proud of all of these kids,” said GCHS Sterling Scholar adviser Melissa Meldrum on Wednesday morning. “I have cramps in my cheeks from smiling and laughing.”
“I was so excited when they announced my name I just about cried,” said Gill, who plans to study painting, drawing, and graphic design at Southern Utah University.
Gill said the Sterling Scholar program “has helped me gain a good work ethic and has made me more confident with my artwork and with interview situations.” As part of the competition, Gill had to show the judges her art portfolio, including a self-portrait painting.
The Sterling Scholar program, which recognizes high school seniors for their excellence in 12 academic categories, was originated by the Deseret News and KSL-TV, which still conduct the program for schools along the Wasatch Front. However, rural areas throughout Utah, including the four counties served by the Southeastern Utah Sterling Scholar Association, now operate the program independently.
Each category winner receives a distinctive Sterling Scholar pin and a cash award of $400 for college expenses. The runners-up (two from each category) each receive a pin and a $100 cash award. In addition, in-state colleges and universities throughout Utah offer scholarships to the winners, and some also offer scholarships to the runners-up.