It was a big night for arts education. Three talented Canyons District artists walked away winners from the 2018 Sterling Scholar Awards, an academic excellence contest sponsored by the Deseret News and KSL Broadcast Group.
Brighton High’s Sofia Rahaniotis was named Utah’s Sterling Scholar in the Speech, Theatre and Arts category, Alta High’s Addie Wray won the Vocal Performance category, and Hillcrest High’s Kara Komarnitsky won in Dance. They were joined on the podium by two Hillcrest Huskies who were named runners-up in the academic-excellence program: Sterling Larson in the World Languages category and Alex Sun in Science.
Rahaniotis, Ray and Komarnitsky were among 11 CSD students to be named finalists in Utah’s Sterling Scholar competition, which honors students “for the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship.” They each received $2,500 scholarships, and runners-up received $1,000 scholarships.
A member of the Brighton’s nationally-recognized Model United Nations team, Rahaniotis was previously awarded Brigham Young University’s Model United Nations Distinguished Delegation Award and Peer Award. She has a 4.0 grade point average, ranks first in her class, and is senior class President. She has volunteered for the Road Home homeless shelter, the American Red Cross, the Tyler Robinson Foundation, and many other charities. “To learn from, teach and inspire through art for which I feel such indescribable passion is to me the pinnacle of happiness,” she says. “I’m among those who are fortunate enough to experience such unmatched artistic joy and for this, I am truly thankful.”
Komarnitsky has performed for Salt Lake’s Repertory Dance Theatre and has been the President of Hillcrest’s dance company for three years. She spent more than 50 hours with the Washington State Trails Association rebuilding a handicap access trail, she tutors students in biology and French and holds a black belt in taekwondo. “Challenge is the method to reach future growth,” she says, “and dance challenges me to grow in different ways every day.”
Alta’s Addie Wray has played the leading role in three musicals. By age 11, she had performed in two professional shows. She has donated her time to support programs for people with special needs and says, “Vocal performing is something I was born to do, that I live, love and breathe eternally.”