SUSSEX COUNTY-On Saturday night, 11 of the county's brightest young stars lit up the night as they gathered at Perona Farms for the 20th Annual United Way Scholar Athlete Award banquet. Kyle Backman of Wallkill Valley Regional High School received the top award of a $2,500 scholarship. Backman is ranked first in his class of 174 students with a grade point average of 4.44. He is a member of Wallkill's chapter of the National Honor Society and is an Edward J. Bloustein Scholar and a National Merit-commended scholar. In addition to his studies, he has excelled in soccer, ski racing and golf. "I really have my parents to thank for making me stay on top of my school work, even when I didn't want to," he said. Backman, who wants to study chemical engineering, is in the process of choosing between Cornell and MIT. Each of the schools in the Sussex County Interscholastic League (SCIL) as well as Sussex County Technical School nominated a senior for the scholar-athlete award.