CENTERVILLE - Before the months of filling out applications and auditioning before judges, there were years practicing, serving, studying and working.
But it all paid off this week, when Julie Dushku was named top Sterling Scholar in the category of dance.
“It was an extreme honor,” said Dusku. “Every single person that was involved was extremely qualified and a beautiful dancer. Every girl involved deserved so so much for their community service, for being such leaders and such beautiful dancers.”
A Viewmont High student, Dushku only began dancing four-and-a-half years ago.
Dance, she said, “is everything to me. I started a lot later in my life so I had to work really, really hard to get where I am today.
“I find myself super emotional and dance brings relief,” she said. “I can dance whenever I want and being able to express my emotions through dance has gotten me through my high school life.”
Besides their area of expertise, Sterling Scholars, a program of the Deseret News, are judged for service, academics and leadership.
“They focus on being a well-rounded person,” she said. “It’s not enough just to be a dancer, but to be a dancer that helps other people, be a leader and get good grades in school.”
Dushku has taken leadership roles in her dance group and is editor of the yearbook and on the newspaper staff.
She spent two weeks serving at an orphanage in Ecuador last yeare, and was part of a group that organized fundraisers to help two young girls with serious health challenges.
Her favorite subject is English: “There’s something about words that fascinates me,” she said. “One of the things that fascinates me about dance is that it’s a way of expressing yourself, just like words. Words are beautiful and reading is fun.”
Dushku will receive $2,000 in scholarship money and a full-tuition scholarship for her first year at BYU, where she plans to study to prepare for a career in nursing.
“It’s remarkable,” she said. “I’ve been stressing for so long about trying to get a scholarship. This was a dream come true.”
Dushku is the fourth of eight children of Alexander and Jennifer Dushku, residents of Centerville.
A number of Davis County students were named as runners-up when the Sterling Scholar awards were presented on March 12.
They are Caitlin Steed of Clearfield High, in the category of business and marketing education; Caroline Martin of Davis High, in the category of dance; Megan Hulse of Viewmont, for English; Madeline Grant of Viewmont, for skilled and technical sciences education; Megan Warburton of Bountiful High, for vocal performance; and Michelle Skonnard of Davis High, for world languages.