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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Skyline High students garner wins in five Sterling Scholar categories

Jun 15, 2018 10:37AM ● By City Journals Staff

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Skyline High School had a significant showing in this year’s Deseret News and KSL Broadcast Group Sterling Scholars program. Of the 14 categories students can enter, 13 from Skyline went on to the semifinals, eight went on from there to the finals and five of those Skyline seniors garnered either a winner or runner-up title.  

Kim Lovato, the principal’s secretary at Skyline, was impressed with all the students who entered the competition. “The Skyline Sterling Scholars have tremendous drive. They excel in academics, community service and leadership because they know what they want, are willing to work hard and make sure to give back every chance they get,” Lovato said.

The winners achieved excellence in a combination of science and humanities disciplines. All are active in extracurricular activities, self-motivated and leaders. In addition, applicants must have high marks in overall academics. Many carry a 4.0 GPA. Winners were published in the Deseret News on March 13 following a ceremony and program. Each student was recognized in the newspaper with a picture and summary of their achievements. Here are the winners and runners-up from Skyline. 

Vikrant Ragula, General Sterling Scholar and Business and Marketing winner

Cole Griffiths, English

Siddhant Devaru, Skilled and Technical Sciences

Kanishka Ragula, runner-up, Computer Technology

Virginia Pohl, runner-up, Speech/Theater Arts/Forensics 

The Deseret News created the Sterling Scholar program in 1962 to “focus attention on outstanding high school seniors. The purpose is to recognize them publicly as well as award cash scholarships and tuition waivers from participating institutions.” A Sterling Scholar is one who “is awarded for the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship in the State of Utah.” 

High schools hold an internal competition, and the winner is sent as a candidate to represent his or her school in a designated region. The state is divided into seven areas, and Skyline falls into the Wasatch Front Central area. Winners receive various scholarships from specific Utah area universities. 

Lovato recalled that every student who applied was well-prepared for the application process. “They came to me, and I told them that in addition to excellence in their category, they need community service. They had it. They needed leadership experience. They already had it. They are great kids,” Lovato said.

Vikrant Ragula, who calls himself a “problem solver,” carries a 4.0 GPA. He is a mentor to several students and an avid debater. He is president or vice president of five high school clubs. He was accepted to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania for business and marketing. 

Griffiths, who has been accepted to Stanford University, is co-editor-in-chief of the Skyline Horizon school newspaper. “I adore politics, writing, history, photography and design,” he said. He also has an internship to a summer creative writing camp. 

Devaru, a skilled debater and mentor to middle school students, is active in the Utah Technology Student Association (TSA). He is TSA state president and Skyline TSA chapter vice president. He also does volunteer work for Primary Children’s Medical Center and the Salvation Army.

Kanishka Ragula, the runner-up in computer technology, was recently named a 2018 Presidential Scholar. Along with his twin brother Vikrant, he was accepted to the Wharton School of Business. He will attend the school of engineering in the Jerome Fisher Program in management and technology at the University of Pennsylvania; only 50 students were selected worldwide. 

Pohl, the runner-up in speech/theater arts/forensics, has participated in the University of Utah’s Youth Theatre Conservatory and played such roles in Skyline productions as the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods,” Catherine in “Pippin,” Margaret in “Wicked Girls” and Angus in “Macbeth.” She is a National Merit finalist, and sings in Skyline’s Highlites barbershop choir.