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As winners and runners-up were announced Wednesday during the Deseret News-KSL Sterling Scholar Awards program, months of preparation by hundreds of individuals came into focus.

Starting last fall, the Deseret News extended invitations to 45 high schools along the Wasatch Front. Meanwhile, directors in four other areas of the state organized their own programs in northeast, central, southwest and southeast Utah. Today, all 40 school districts in Utah participate.At each school a coordinator was appointed who became an important link in the organizational chain. Success of the program, specifically at the schools, depends heavily on the dedication and cooperation of this faculty member.

Following guidelines established by the sponsors, the coordinators helped the students to prepare a portfolio that reflected their achievements and activities during four years of study.

The coordinators also kept the students aware of important dates, especially those for submitting the portfolios, participating in preliminary and final judging, and making sure the finalists arrived on time for the awards ceremony Wednesday evening.