PCHS Sterling Scholars announced | ParkRecord.com

PCHS Sterling Scholars announced

When Jayla Lundstrom, a senior at Park City High School, got the call to leave class and go to the counseling office, she was unsure what to make of it. As it turned out, there was a surprise waiting for her.

When she arrived, Heather Briley, the school’s financial aid advisor, handed her an envelope. Lundstrom quickly opened it. Excitement flushed over her as she read the words: She had been selected as one of 15 recipients of the school’s Sterling Scholars Award. The honor is given to seniors who have demonstrated excellence both inside and outside the classroom in a certain subject or category.

"I was kind of shocked," Lundstrom said. "I got the general category, which kind of fits me. I’m really passionate about a lot of things I do that don’t necessarily pertain to a certain subject matter. For me, it’s awesome to be able to showcase that."

The other 14 students were given awards in specific subjects. They are as follows: Max Johansen, computer technology; Jenna Peers, dance; Mara Williams, English; Elizabeth Story, family and consumer sciences; Dominic Croce, Math; Peter Bermant, science; Makayla Trask, business and marketing; Matthew Zehner, social science; Katherine Kelley, speech/theater/forensics; Gracie Kilbourn, visual arts; Austin Wolfe, vocal performance; Rachel Frain, world languages; Evan DeGray, skilled and technical sciences; Nicole Chang, instrumental music.

Briley, who is in her first year as the financial aid advisor for PCHS, said the Sterling Scholar awards are prestigious. Students are evaluated based on their grades, test scores, the rigor of their classload, as well as extracurricular involvement. Competition for the awards was stiff, with more than 50 seniors applying this year. The 15 winning students were chosen by a committee of teachers, administrators and counselors.

"It was so difficult to only pick 15," Briley said. "The committee had such a tough decision to make because everyone was so qualified. They chose the best students to represent the school."

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The winners go on to the regional round, where they will participate in a difficult application and interview process. Briley said that if any PCHS students win there, the school will award each with a $1,000 scholarship. From there, they compete at the state level for a chance at additional scholarships.

Regardless of how the students fare at the regional and state levels, just getting selected at the high school level is a rewarding achievement. Matthew Zehner, who was chosen in social sciences, said it was affirmation that all the hard work he’s put in over the years was worth it.

"It feels like the culmination of everything that I’ve worked for since I was in school," he said. "Because I’ve always taken advanced classes and tried to get good grades. So this recognition feels great."

The one common theme among all the seniors chosen is they are well-rounded students. Briley said that is becoming an increasingly important trait for students to have.

"Not even just for this program, but for the whole college search process," she said. "So many colleges are looking at a holistic admissions process, and this is just one more example of how important it is to get involved outside the classroom."

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