BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
WOODS CROSS — For one student, it was an interest in debate, and for another, a love of ceramics that put them on track to earn an honor that will have a positive impact on their plans for the future.
Davis County teens McKay Holbrook and Marc Allen were awarded the top Sterling Scholar Awards in their categories, an award that not only builds confidence, but that brings scholarships.
It is not easy to earn the designation of Sterling Scholar, a high school competition for excellence sponsored by the Deseret News.
Students who compete must prepare portfolios listing their scholarship, leadership and community service, as well as what they have learned and accomplished in their areas of focus.
Rounds of interviews with judges at their school, the region and the state competition are also necessary.
“To me it’s just kind of like all my hard work has finally paid off,” said Allen, a senior at Northridge High, whose ceramics and citizenship earned him the top spot in the category of visual arts.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “It says to the world that not only do I think I’m good, but but others think I’m good as well.”
McKay Holbrook said the interviewing was “pretty intense,” and added that winning in his category of speech and drama “completely changed the outlook of my future” due to the scholarships that accompanied the win.
Participating in debate has taught Holbrook more about current events, he said.
“I used to have a predisposition on any topic,” said the Woods Cross senior. “Now I can see one side but I can see the other side as well and can argue both sides. It has opened up my mind and given me new perspective.”
Allen, whose work can be seen at sickpots.com, said ceramics would continue to be a focus in his life He plans to make a career of his art.
“I don’t believe I will ever stop pushing myself to be better,” he said in a statement to the Deseret News. “I am excited for future art competitions and the further inspiration and skill that await me as I continue to turn hunks of clay into pieces of fine art.”
Holbrook’s statement also addressed what he has learned in his area: “Forensics has improved my logical thinking, my speaking and presentation skills, my writing and even my listening ability,.”
The win has “meant the entire world,” Holbrook told the Clipper of the scholarships that have resulted. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s really helped my schooling career.”