Averi Christiansen and Nathalie Reay are winners from Monticello High School, while Cole Montella is a winner from San Juan High School.
The purpose of this program is to recognize high school seniors for excellence in academics.
Monticello, San Juan, Whitehorse, and Monument Valley high schools participated in the annual competition, which includes students from nine high schools.
Averi Christiansen is the winner in the Dance category. Christiansen has been dancing since she was three-years-old and was professionally trained for the next seven years.
When she moved to Monticello, there were no dance opportunities, so she created one by opening her own dance studio. She has spent four hours a day for the past four years teaching dance to city youth.
Averi earned all-state drill honors all four years of high school. She is the drill captain and is the 1A Miss Drill winner. She was named the 1A Defensive MVP as a member of the Buckaroo volleyball team and was a first team all-state selection.
Ranked first in her class with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, Averi is also the Student Body Vice President. The winner is the daughter of Doug and Monique Christiansen.
Nathalie Reay is the winner in the English category. Reay is the co-valedictorian of her high school with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She has the highest ACT score in the school district.
Nathalie has been the editor of the school newspaper since her freshman year and has won the district writing competition two times. She won the Short Story Award from the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies in 2015. Nathalie has also published her own cookbook, Dining with the Lost Generation.
Through her writing, Nathalie has become an avid student of American history and politics. She was even recognized by the Emery County Commission for an article written on the Western Public Lands issue. She is captain of the girls cross country team and is the daughter of Paul and Isabell Reay.
Cole Montella of San Juan is winner of the Computer Technology category. Cole is an entrepreneur, a scholar, and a leader. He has competed in several FBLA competitions and has placed high in computer technology events.
Montella helped start a business, competed at a national level, and will earn his Associate Degree before high school graduation. He is the webmaster of his school FBLA chapter and community service project coordinator of his school chapter of the National Honor Society.
Also an athlete, Cole was a varsity runner and team captain for the Bronco cross country team. He is the son of Todd and Jeri Montella.
Seven students at San Juan High School finished as runner up, including Talon Dayish in Drama and Vocal Performance, Jonathan Brewer in Mathematics, Preston Macdonald in Social Science, Asa Bradford in Business and Marketing, Preston Palmer in Skilled and Technical Sciences Education, Hannah Brown in Visual Arts, and Emry Bayles in World Languages.
Two students from Monticello High School were runner up, including Bryson Chamberlain in Computer Technology and Molly Anderson in Music.
Local students from Monument Valley High School who were nominees include Alyzza Stanley, Tiffany Luna, Geraldine Lee, Kylie Reese, and Nakaya Holiday.
Larenz Esplin, Jonathan Dixon, and Brevin Norton represented Whitehorse High School as nominees.
Nominees from San Juan High School include McKady Grover, Samantha Johnson, Rachel Jacobsen, Porter Bradford, and Dana Gappmayer.
Joe Fellmeth and Anna Rowley were nominees from Monticello High.
The sponsoring organizations of the Sterling Scholars are the Southeastern Utah Sterling Scholar Association, Zions Bank, Deseret News, and Emery Telcom.
A number of colleges and universities offer full tuition scholarships to the winners, including Brigham Young University, Utah State University-Eastern, Dixie State College, BYU Idaho, LDS Business College, Salt Lake Community College, Snow College, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Weber State University, and Westminster College.