Sanpete County students win Sterling Scholar awards

Aspiring Sterling Scholars in Sanpete County showed that hitting the books and serving their community paid off as they took home the lion’s share of awards at the 49th annual Sterling Scholar ceremony March 2 at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.

Manti High was well represented as 11 of its 15 student applicants either won their category outright or placed as a runner-up, said assistant principal Josh Palmer. Manti finished with five winners and six runners-up.

Eneli Silva
North Sanpete High School

North Sanpete finished with one winner and four students as runners-up; and Gunnison Valley High School had two students who finished in the runner-up position.

Sanpete area high schools competed against twelve other schools in Central Utah for the distinguished awards. One winner and two runners-up were chosen for each category.

Manti High School Sterling Scholar coordinator KariLyn Cox said, “This year’s Sterling Scholars have been an incredible group to work with. They have dedicated a lot of time to perfect their portfolios and interviewing skills. Even those who didn’t place in their categories highly impressed the judges and, no doubt, have incredible futures ahead of them. This year has been our highest-placing year yet and we are happy to celebrate this win with our community!”

Sterling Scholars winners were awarded $2,500 each. Runners-up received a cash award of $1,000. All winners and runners-up are also eligible for scholarships from several post-secondary Utah institutions.

Here are Sanpete’s Sterling Scholars for this year:

Manti High


Avery Allred, Winner, Family and Consumer Science

Avery’s favorite classes are in family and consumer sciences. She played tennis and has been involved in theatre, FCCLA, EYCC, speech and debate and orchestra. She has held leadership positions in the FCCLA and theatre department. She loves musicals. After high school, she plans to become an elementary school teacher.


Allie Bridges, Winner, General Scholar

Allie is a fantastic student; earing a 4.0 GPA and scoring 32 on her ACTs. She has been involved with the Ephraim City Council, National Honor Society, Lions Club and Daughters of Utah Pioneers. She has also lettered in soccer, basketball and track every season of high school. After high school, she plans on attending college to earn a Masters of Healthcare Administration degree.


Kade Cherry, Winner, Trade and Technical Education

Kade is interested in woodworking and drafting. He has been heavily involved with the Boy Scouts of America, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He has also held various leadership positions in his church. He looks forward to serving an LDS Mission and then plans to attend college and start a family.


Kaitlyn Chidester, Winner, World Languages         

Kaitlyn loves other cultures and fell in love with Guatemala after going there for a humanitarian mission. She learned firsthand that we don’t all have to speak the same language to love and understand each other. She volunteers at Manti Elementary in the severe special education classroom. She is a member of the national honor society and has been on the drill team for the past four years.


Taylor Palmer, Winner, Speech and Drama

Taylor has been involved in speech and debate and theatre throughout high school and absolutely loves it. She also plays tennis and is involved in the science club, national honor society, student government and FCCLA. She was also selected as Miss Sanpete County’s Outstanding Teen in 2019. She plans on earning a Master’s degree in education psychology.


Ali Cook, Runner-Up, Science

Ali’s favorite subject is science and she especially loves biology, physics and anatomy. She has been involved in national honor society, the B.O.M.B. squad, theatre, debate and several church service groups. Ali’s dream is be a pediatric neuroscientist and specialize in helping children with seizures.


Lucy Eddy, Runner-Up, Visual Arts

Lucy loves art and is currently helping coordinate the Manti Elementary School Art Program. In addition to visual art, Lucy thoroughly enjoys music. She has held leadership positions in her church youth group and represented Manti High School at Girls State. After high school, Lucy plans to complete her associate’s degree and then serve an LDS Mission. Upon her return home, she plans to earn an MBA degree.


Tyson Meade, Runner-Up, Computer & Information Technology

Tyson sees a viable career path for him in computer sciences. He has been involved in the Boy Scouts and Manti’s e-sports club. He is an Eagle Scout, band president and held leadership positions in his church. After high school, he plans to serve an LDS Mission and then attend Snow College.


Jacob Norris, Runner-Up, English and Literature

Jacob is the student body president and he has also been president for freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes. He is an award-winning writer and he has been heavily involved with the theatre department. After high school, he plans to attend UVU and eventually write screenplays for the film industry.


Sierra Roberts, Runner-Up, Dance

Dance has been Sierra’s passion since she was a little girl. She has been on the drill team for the past four years; been on the Manti Youth City Council; and in the National Honor Society. She has also aided the American Legion and held various leadership roles in her church. After high school, she plans to continue dancing while pursuing a career in nursing.


Abby Watson, Runner-Up, Social Sciences

Abby has long since been fascinated with the social sciences and counts these classes amongst her favorites. She has been involved in the Ephraim Library Council, FCCLA, Share Parents of Utah and Teeny Tears organizations. She is the school broadcasting coordinator, theatre historian and debate secretary.


North Sanpete High School


Kaje Nielsen, Winner, Computer & Information Technology 

Kaje, the son of Bawb and Heidi Nielsen, achieved a 3.9 GPA and scored a 27 on the ACT.  He has been involved in the school musical and drama competitions every year. He has spent much of his time in journalism and written articles for the school newspaper. He has created and sold his own video game.



Adam Cox, Runner-Up, Social Science

Adam, the son of Spencer and Abby Cox, has been involved in several leadership roles. He has held leadership positions in student government, choir, and drama council. He has received a 4.0 GPA throughout all of his high school classes. He went to Guatemala for three weeks for a humanitarian trip to help build a school for children. He was one of the few to be selected to participate in Governor’s Honors Academy at SUU.


Rance Christensen, Runner-Up, Trade and Technical Education 

Rance, the son of Rex and Joann Christensen, has been involved with woodworking for several years. Besides building a lighted staircase for his home, he volunteers as an aide in his high school classes, quilts and helps run the family farm.


Eneli Silva, Runner-Up, World Languages

Eneli, the daughter of Osbaldo and Sandra Silva, has been a HOPE Squad member for four years and is also a part of the national honor society. She has helped translate for several parents in her community who don’t speak English as a first language. This year she was named the president of her school’s French club. She has also volunteered in many community service activities including teaching songs in French and Spanish at a day camp.


Harrison Cook, Runner-Up, Mathematics

Harrison, the son of Douglas and Tara Cook, has been cast in three plays and two musicals throughout his high school career, played on the JV soccer team, performed at region and state drama, participated in his schools tabletop gaming club, and has written for the school newspaper for over two years. While participating in all these activities, he has also been able to maintain a 3.9 GPA, and score a 33 on the ACT.



Gunnison Valley High School


Aubrey Belnap, Runner-Up, Dance

Aubrey, the daughter of Tyrell and Lacey Belnap of Gunnison, has been dancing since she was three years old. Her hard work over the past 15 years finally paid off when she and her team won the Region 16 Drill Team Championship this year.

Aubrey is a wonderful leader at her school and is involved in student body office, yearbook and drill team. She loves being involved in her community and giving back to those who have helped her become who she is today.


Phillip Johnson, Runner-Up, Computer & Information Technology

Phillip, the son of Lars and Diane Johnson of Mayfield, has been interested in computers from an early age and has taken every opportunity to learn more about them. He has served as his school’s technology assistant, the instructor for the coding club and attended several camps and trainings on both computer software and hardware.

He is an Eagle Scout and president of the national honor society at the school, and he is actively involved in his community