Distinguished Young Women prep for programBy Emily Etheredge Published 4:44pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Preparations are underway for the 2014 Distinguished Young Women Program (formerly America’s Junior Miss) on July 13 at 6 p.m. at Chilton County High School.
The 53-year-old program is a national scholarship program that encourages high school girls to develop their full potential.
Distinguished Young Women Chairman Leslee Deavers said the program differs from some pageants in areas of scholastics, physical fitness and scholarships.
“The girls who participate in this program have to have a certain GPA, be physically fit and this year during their interview portion they are given 30 seconds to speak about their passion during the self-expression portion,” Deavers said. “This is a wonderful way for incoming seniors throughout Chilton County to participate in something that provides scholarship money as they are getting ready to enter college.”
Six contestants from Thorsby, Jemison and Chilton County High School are participating in the program that will have a talent portion with a 90-second routine, a physical fitness portion, an interview and self-expression.
Deavers said all of the money used for scholarships is raised and this year $3,450 will be awarded to those participating.
Delta Kappa Gamma teacher society collected the donations and contributions on behalf of the contestants.
Ashley Parker, who was the 2013 Distinguished Young Woman representative for Chilton County, said her experiences in the program have been “life changing” and she has enjoyed developing friendships with others who participate in the program throughout Alabama.
After the local Distinguished Young Women program, a preliminary program will be held in Montgomery in January 2014 and the state program will be held in Mobile in June of 2014.
“I was not really a pageant person and had only done two pageants when I was really little,” Parker said. “I have always been obsessed with grades and I was more attracted to this program because I got to participate in the academic portion as well as the fitness part.”
Another benefit Parker, 18, has enjoyed this past year was meeting different people at the state competition.
“I got to stay with a host family and I am still very close with them,” Parker said. “My roommate and my host family came to my high school graduation and they will be here on Saturday supporting me so it has been great.”
Deavers said a new addition to this year’s program is the Distinguished Diva Boot Camp that was held on July 9 and will be held on July 11 for girls in grades 2-6.
The event, sponsored by Distinguished Young Women, had 22 participants with the theme, “be your best self.”
Deavers said this was the first year to hold the boot camp that focused on five elements including being healthy, involved, studious, ambitious and responsible.
“We were just tickled with the turnout we had for that event,” Deavers said.
Admission charge to the Distinguished Young Women program on July 13 is $5 per person.
For more information, contact Leslee Deavers at Chilton@distinguishedyw.org.