BY HAGEN COOK
Being a Sterling Scholar is an impressive feat that only a few students achieve each year. They must be charitable, committed to bettering themselves, leader-like, and have the desire to preserve the past while looking to improve the future. The Sterling Scholar program is sponsored by Deseret News. It started in 1962 to award students’ achievements in outstanding fields. Some of those out of Syracuse High School have become national merit scholars, and university math tutors, and that’s to name just a couple of their future ventures.
In order to become a Sterling Scholar at Syracuse High School, a student applies for a category they’re passionate about. The applicants are then evaluated based on their academic progress, work in the category that they previously selected, community involvement, and leadership skills. After they’re chosen, English teacher and Sterling Scholar Coordinator at Syracuse High, Karen Cheney, will help guide them through building a portfolio summarizing their accomplishments. Next, they go to compete within their region where judges will review their portfolios then interview and watch them to determine who is deserving to become a statewide Sterling Scholar. Those that do can be recognized by colleges with part or full tuition. However, those that don’t still walk away with more than pride. Syracuse High rewards them with a hundred-dollar prize, recognizes them at graduation, and features them in the yearbook. Mrs. Cheney expresses her amazement at the impressive Sterling Scholars by saying, “I’m in awe of how much work these kids put in. How generous they are with their time as well as how disciplined they must be to balance their academics and extracurriculars. I enjoy seeing the effort they put into bettering their lives.” Syracuse High has thirteen scholars this year.
Syracuse High’s computer technology scholar, Parker Suzuki, plans to pursue a degree in computer science following high school. When it comes to the community portion, Parker has volunteered over a hundred hours for Lakeside Elementary’s robotics program. Saying this, “The best part of volunteering was watching the students’ faces light up when they solved a tough problem they were facing.” Not only has he been able to gain more experience, but he has also been able to help others with similar interests.
Amber Kulbacki showcased the Sterling Scholar’s impressive leadership ability in business and marketing. The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) are business-related clubs in which she became an officer in both. As an officer, she’s planned their events while also leading her peers by example by taking a number of business classes and focusing on her passion.
Alexa Hatch has been singing and performing for a long time. It was only right that she became Syracuse High’s vocal performance Sterling Scholar. Alexa has shown off her hard work by participating in Clinton Idol, a singing contest. After being called back by the judges, she went on to perform at Clinton’s Heritage Days. Here she was able to showcase her impressive talent for vocal performance in front of a crowd.
Syracuse High is always looking for more candidates. Mrs. Cheney urges any student interested to start working as early as the ninth grade by recording their accomplishments, joining clubs, focusing on their education and community, and finding what they’re passionate about. Every Sterling Scholar has fostered their talents, worked hard, and remained committed to achieving this great accomplishment. There is much to be learned from them. Keep up with what they go on to do and follow their determined example by working to excel in what you are passionate about.