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Sterling Scholar runner up from Rich

Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2009

Pictured front row from left are Chelsey Brown, Kira Call, and Tristynn Kohl. Back row are: A. J. Cooper, Brookell Williamson, Oliver Peart, and Allie Eastman. PHOTO 2: A. J. Cooper. PHOTOS COURTESY/Cindy Wilcox

There is no classification according to the size of the school at the Sterling Scholar Competition.

Students from small schools like Rich High compete against students from schools like 3A Morgan or 5A Bingham High School, so it is no small thing for a student from Rich to be named a runner-up in any category, but Arlin (AJ) Cooper pulled it off in the science competition.

Seven outstanding students represented Rich High in the competition. Along with Cooper in Science, Chelsey Brown competed in general scholarship, Allie Eastman in English, Brookell Williamson in Speech and Drama, Kira Call in Visual Arts, Oliver Peart in music, and Tristynn Kohl in dance.

Advisor Cindy Wilcox said that all the competitors from Rich did extremely well and exceeded expectations but Cooper really excelled.

Each student had to prepare a portfolio that included their accomplishments and achievements in the given category as well as all around scholarship, citizenship and leadership. Then they were interviewed by three judges who were experts in their field. Some categories such as dance and music also included a performance.

“I didn’t feel I had done very well on my interview so I was pleasantly surprised [to be named Sterling Scholar runner-up],” commented Cooper.

He included achievements such as completing the first responder course at BATC, being a certified CNA as well as a physical therapy aide in his portfolio. He is a member of the Rich High School Honor Society in which he has served as vice president this year. He was vice president of his class during his junior year. Cooper also could include earning the Energy Solutions Scholarship that he was awarded as a sophomore, and the Horatio Alger Scholarship and he is the salutatorian for the class of 2009 at Rich High.

Writing an essay about the scientist he most admired earned him $2,000 from Energy Solutions and two essays plus a letter of support earned him $5,000 as one of only 25 Utah scholars awarded the Horatio Alger Scholarship. These two scholarships plus the New Century Scholarship awarded to high school students that earn an associate’s degree along with their high school diploma will help Cooper defray expenses at Westminster College where he plans to prepare for medical school.

When asked why he had chosen Westminster, he said he was attracted by the small private school setting. “I will be able to receive one-on-one interaction with the professors which will enhance my education and enable me to obtain personal recommendations when it is time to apply for medical school. Westminster is considered an elite school and that will also help.”

Cooper plans to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine because he wants to learn a holistic approach to patient care.

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