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It never fails. Judges in the Deseret News Sterling Scholar Awards program, especially those in the final interviews, are amazed at the accomplishments and knowledge these young men and women possess.

"I can't believe what these students have mastered in their short lives. It boggles my mind," said one judge. "It's inconceivable that they could possibly accomplish more than what they have done up to now."And another judge, who has interviewed in previous years, was delighted to see how each new crop of scholars seems to exceed those before them.

During final judging April 6, three-member teams in each category reviewed portfolios and interviewed the candidates. When the interviews were completed, the judges had to agree on three top scholars a winner and two runners-up.

Occasionally, judges came from behind closed doors and asked, "Can we have three winners?" When informed of the guidelines, they shook their heads and returned to the tough task of selecting only one winner and two runners-up.

The following are thumbnail sketches for this year's winners:

Christine Edwards, English, East High School, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Edwards, Salt Lake City, is recipient of numerous awards in the field of English and has had many of her works appear in literary publications. With a 4.0 grade point average, she received a Level III Award for her writing from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and is a finalist among 22,000 entrants in this year's Scholastic Writing Awards. A member of the National Honor Society, she received an Honors at Entrance Scholarship at the University of Utah, a composite score of 28 on ACT, and letter of commendation for her outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT. Her play, "Perfect," was written in her junior year and presented in the school's Little Theatre. She has served as an officer in her freshman class, a cappella choir, Key Club, senate and seminary council at East High and is poetry editor of the school newspaper.

Dean Cranney, Speech/Drama, Mountain View High School, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Cranney, Orem, has captured awards for his acting experience, including local, state, regional and national competition. He represented the Rocky Mountain Region to the International Thespian Society's annual festival in Muncie, Ind., in 1986 and 1988, and has been active in the school's Thespian Club, playing the lead in school plays as well as serving as director or on the technical crew. He was state finalist in the Century III Leaders program, is serving as student body president, has passed advanced placement classes in history, English, and calculus, received honors in history and biology, is a member of the National Honor Society, maintains a 3.83 GPA, received a 29 ACT composite score and has been awarded scholarships at Brigham Young University and Ricks College.

R. Burns Israelsen, Mathematics, Sky View High School, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Israelsen, Smithfield, is recipient of honors in school, state, regional and national mathematics programs and has been named a Presidential Scholars candidate and National Merit Scholarship finalist. He received the highest score ever reported for high school students in competition for an engineering scholarship at Utah State University. He completed an advanced placement class in chemistry and passed the test with a score of 4, and is now enrolled in A.P. calculus and physics classes. In competition sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America, he was among the top scholars, including 13th among 10th grade students in 1986 and 6th among 11th grade students. He received a score in mathematics of 36 on ACT and 800 on SAT tests. He is vice president of the National Honor Society at Sky View and officer of the school's literary magazine, "Catalyst."

Jennifer Wood, Social Science, Alta High School, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald M. Wood, Sandy, has been active in student government as sophomore class president and student body vice president. She has received an A grade in advanced placement classes in European history, American history, American government and politics, and English. She is a two-year member of the National Honor Society, maintains a 3.97 grade point average, and ranks 7th in the senior class of 637. She represented the state at the Hugh O'Brien Leadership seminar in Indiana and the Close Up Foundation in Washington, D.C. In addition to scholarship, she has exercised leadership and citizenship in the school and community, including help for the needy, driver safety, and fund-raising for a recipient of a liver transplant. She has received a presidential scholarship at Brigham Young University.

Mark W. Lemon, Science, Box Elder High School, son of Mr. and Mrs. Al Lemon, Brigham City. Maintaining a 4.0 grade point average and ranking first in his senior class of 346, he has accumulated a long list of honors, including the National Science Merit award in 1987 and 1988, recipient of grants from the Utah Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, and a Utah State University equipment loan. Through his science projects, he has received awards from Eastman Kodak, NASA, and the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. In 1987, he was selected as a delegate to the 38th annual International Science and Engineering Fair in Puerto Rico. He currently is working on a project to develop material for superconductivity. He is president of the National Honor Society, Key Club vice president, Spanish Club president and Letterman's Club treasurer. He received a four-year presidential scholarship at Utah State University and served as delegate to Boys State.

Terrian Poulson, Foreign Language, Weber High School, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Poulson, North Ogden, ranks first in a senior class of 621 with a 4.0 grade point average. She has not only had experience with German, her major language, along with French and Spanish, she has learned the sign language for the deaf. She was named winner of the International Foreign Language Awards from the United States Achievement Academy, and has consistently ranked in the top 4 percent in the National German Examination. She has received a presidential scholarship at Brigham Young University, an honors at entrance scholarship at the University of Utah, and named a semifinalist for the presidential scholarship at the University of Utah. She uses her language skills in tutoring students at North Ogden Junior High School and develops programs in elementary schools that encourage students to enroll in a foreign language.

Anneliese Warnick, Visual Arts, Brighton High School, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Reed T. Warnick, Salt Lake City, has received honors for her artwork from school and district competition as well as the Springville Museum of Art, Utah Arts Council and the National Scholastic Press. She attended the Parsons School of Design's pre-college program in France in 1987, and has enrolled in summer art classes at Westminster College, Utah State University and with private artists. She has designed T-shirts, posters and programs for the school's various clubs and organizations, serves as art editor of the school magazine, and has had work published in The New Era magazine. In addition, she has organized artist groups to create holiday banners for Primary Children's Hospital, designing a Christmas tree for the Festival of Trees, and organizing a carnival for disabled children. She is a member of the National Honor Society, art and German clubs, and tutors in German, English, mathematics, history and art.

Chad Gonzales, Industrial Education, Roy High School, son of Mr. and Mrs. Toby Gonzales, Roy. In addition to serving as student body president, junior class vice president and VICA president, he has achieved recognition in mechanical drafting competition in school, regional and state competition. He captured first and second in mechanical drafting regional competition and first, second and fourth in the Brigham Young University Young Craftsman Fair. His knowledge of drafting was used to assist a group of Weber State College engineering students with the NUSAT II satellite project, and he works part-time in computer aided designing for Iomega Corp. He is a member of the Society of Distinguished American High School Students, listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students, and nominated as a United States National Leadership Award winner.

Jennifer Call, Homemaking, Ogden High School, daughter of Vern Call of Ogden, has received numerous awards in homemaking and home economics. She was nominated a state officer in the Future Homemakers of America, received a three-star award in the 1987 FHA state convention and went on to win a similar award and gold medal in the national convention in Washington, D.C. With a grade point average of 3.96 and composite score of 27 on the ACT, she is a member of the National Honor Society, served as a delegate to Girls State and currently participates in the early college program at Weber State College. Her achievements also extend to other fields, having been nominated as a national mathematics award winner, semifinalist for the 1988 Mazda National Scholarship program, delegate to the United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth in New York City, and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, German Guild, Key Club, Drama Club and Ski Guild.

Raquel Cook, Business Education, American Fork, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald S. Cook, American Fork, is recipient of numerous awards in the field of business, including the Executive Women International Business Scholarship that provides an internship with American Express Co. She is proficient in business skills of keyboarding, word processing, and procedures, and puts this knowledge to work in community service as well as in the business world. Community service includes the Utah Pageant of the Arts, Utah Hungry Hearts campaign, March of Dimes, KBYU Telethon, State Training School, Convalescent Center and American Fork Hospital.

Monte Caldwell, Music, Viewmont High School, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arlo K. Caldwell, Bountiful, excels in music and has won piano competition awards at Utah State University, Utah State Fair, University of Utah, and Kawai Corp as well as in school, regional and state competition He has performed solo with the Utah Symphony on the "Salute to Youth" series, participated in the Gina Bachauer competition, and volunteers his time and talent to projects throughout the year. He teaches piano to 13 students and is a member of the Utah Symphony Guild.

Luke Romero, General Scholarship, Roy High School, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Romero, Roy. Ranking first in a senior class of 450, he has maintained a four-year 3.99 grade point average, including 14 college preparation, honors and advanced placement classes. A member of the National Honor Society and serving as president of the school chapter this year, he also is a member of the academic decathlon team, Phi Delta Kappa academic Olympiad team and Science Seminar for Superior Students, Model United Nations, chemistry and Spanish clubs, Future Business Leaders of America, and many more. He was delegate to Boys State and has received awards from the Kiwanis, Elks, Soroptimist, Utah Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, U.S. Marine Corps and many school, district, state and national organizations.