Grand County High School’s 2018 Sterling Scholars gathered for a group photo. Ryan Reed (back row, left) is pictured with Tyler Moreau, Abigail Mason, Ryan Lewis, Grace Osusky, Aidan G. Newton (front row, left), Trinity Yazzie, Isabella Walter, Hannah Stripeika and Kaylan Young. [Photo courtesy of Alanna Simmons-Cameron]

Grand County High School’s 10 Sterling Scholars participated in southeastern Utah’s competition in late March.

Sterling Scholar is a statewide scholarship competition pitting the best and the brightest against one another for in-state tuition money. Students are evaluated on their strengths within their category, within leadership, within volunteering and within academics.

GCHS selected scholars to best represent the school in each category. Students worked for months on a digital portfolio illustrating their accomplishments, and then they were interviewed by a three judge panel of experts at the Utah State University Eastern campus.

GCHS’s scholars, their achievements and the results are below. Three of the scholars – Grace Osusky, Tyler Moreau and Trinity Yazzie – took first place, while Ryan Lewis, Aidan G. Newton and Abigail Isabella Mason took runner-up.

Grace Osusky, GCHS’s Forensic and Speech Scholar, took first place in her category. She and the social science winner, Tyler Moreau, share #1 in their class since they both have a 4.0. Over her four years in high school, Osusky has made quite the name for herself in debate. She glories in – and excels at – the events that are research- and time-intensive, and intellectually demanding. She wants to pursue a career in law and a side career as a novelist. Osusky is very involved in her school, whether Quiz Bowl, student government and more. She has a burning ambition in her that will soon be fed at University of Utah this fall.

Tyler Moreau, GCHS’s Social Science Scholar, took first place in his category. He is a perpetual advocate to his peers on the importance of participating in government – especially local – no matter what one’s political alliances are. He was a state delegate for the Democratic Party in 2016 and ever since has valued the importance of participating in our democracy. He is involved in school and community activities, from student government to National Honors Society and working with a nonprofit to register Moab residents to vote. He is also a student athlete, participating in Swim Team and Mountain Biking Club. Moreau will be heading to the nation’s capital this month with Hal Adams’ history class. He plans to pursue a support role in politics and has his eye on internships at the state capitol.

Trinity Yazzie, GCHS’s Visual Arts Scholar, took first place in her category. Trinity says she learned the value of art at her grandfather’s knee, and then found plentiful nourishment through art teachers in Grand County and her own impulse to create. Deeply proud of her Navajo heritage, she is involved with GCHS’s Native American Club, which fulfills many roles for those involved and the larger community, from working with local nonprofits, to education outreach, to provide cultural bonding for involved students. Yazzie is a success story of hard work, talent and ambition that did not take “no” as an acceptable answer and instead pushed beyond the visible and invisible boundaries that restricted her. Her vibrant art is a testament to the fire that burns inside her.

Abigail Isabella Mason, GCHS’s Dance Sterling Scholar, took runner-up in her category. This bright young woman was raised in her mother’s dance studio but carved out her own name in dance as a young adult. Poised, articulate and graceful, Mason is an accomplished dancer who has been professionally trained in many areas of dance including ballet, tap, jazz and tumbling. She joined her high school drill team her sophomore year and has lettered every year since. She was chosen to be on the all-state drill team in her junior year and on the all-region drill team in her senior year. She continues to share her love for dance by teaching for a local studio and choreographing solos. She’s highly involved in her school’s student government and the National Honor Society. She has a four-year letter in track. Not only is she very dedicated to her own personal goals but also to her friends and family.

Aidan G. Newton, GCHS’s English Sterling Scholar, took runner-up in his category. He is an accomplished poet and journalist, and he has yet to meet an argument that he fears to face. He is actively involved in the school’s debate team and regularly places at meets. He plans to pursue a career in law protecting the vulnerable as a prosecutor. The judges at the competition urged him to change the world, and his calm response was: “I will.”

Ryan Lewis, GCHS’s Science Sterling Scholar, took runner-up in his category. He is passionate about rocketry, aerodynamics and space travel, hoping to one day work at NASA or Elon Musk’s private company, Space-X. Largely self-taught, he has developed sophisticated rockets in a corner of his parents’ garage. He has shared his passion with our community, creating a Rocket Club at GCHS, and instigating the Rocketry certification that will be offered at GCHS in 2019. Lewis is also a talented athlete in cross-country and track, with many records and wins to his name.

Ryan Reed, GCHS’s Math Scholar, is that rare breed who reads math textbooks for fun. He maxed out the high school’s math offerings by his junior year, so he attends a night class at the USU Moab branch and is the only person in the classroom. He spends weeks working on problems and has a series of whiteboards in his room just for this purpose. Reed plans to pursue a PhD in mathematics, but he is also deeply interested in chemistry and computer science, although he will tell you that the best parts of those systems come back to math.

Hannah Stripeika, GCHS’s Drama Scholar, is the rare and vital drama student who is happy to take background roles and provide behind-the-stage support so that others can bask in the spotlight. The highlight of her high school career has been participating in yearly school plays for her junior and senior years. Going from an introvert afraid to speak before others to enjoying her time under the hot glare of lights has been transformative for Stripeika, and she plans to apply this newfound ease in front of strangers to a career in health services. Stripeika is also very involved in community service and is a talented athlete in track and cross-country.

Isabella Walter, GCHS’s Business and Marketing Scholar, balances an overflowing plate towered high with ambition. Manager at the Moab Tourism Center, she will also complete her CNA in nursing by her high school graduation on May 31. She has a heavy school load and tutors children in our community. Walter has also applied her talents in marketing to help others. She worked with Molly McClish to create a website in Lily’s McClish’s honor. This website is part education, part outreach and part fundraiser: Walter plans to pursue a career in the health services and simultaneously continue her work in the fields of business, marketing and real estate.

Kaylan Young, GCHS’s Family and Consumer Science Scholar, has been involved with Girl Scouts since she was a Brownie. She went from being a kid learning about the world through her troop to being a leader providing other small Girl Scouts knowledge, guidance and a model of confidence. She is working on her Gold Project, which is an ambitious plan to put neighborhood lending-library boxes in every Moab neighborhood to encourage lifelong reading, imagination and literacy. Young represented Utah in the Teen USA pageant. She plans to pursue a career in geology, but the service and take-charge mien she learned in Girl Scouts will always be a pivotal part of who she is.