Five to compete in DYW program July 12

Published 4:29 pm Thursday, July 10, 2014

Five contestants from Chilton County will compete Saturday, July 12 at 6 p.m. for the chance to be the 2015 Chilton County Distinguished Young Women representative.

The 58-year-old program is a national scholarship program that encourages high school girls to develop their full potential.

Distinguished Young Women Co-Chairman Kay Clark described the program as a great opportunity for girls to earn scholarships as they prepare to attend college.

“This program opens doors for these girls,” Clark said. “It is a great, great opportunity. Some of these girls might not want to participate in the program because they think they don’t have a chance at winning, but you can win scholarship money for different things such as fitness, self-expression, interviews, scholastics and a talent.”

Clark’s daughter, Brooke Clark, was the 2012 Distinguished Young Women representative for Chilton County.

“All I can do is talk about the doors that opened through my daughter’s experience,” Clark said. “Through the program she received a scholarship to Troy. She has since changed her major to engineering and will be going to Auburn, but she is interning with Alabama Power. When they saw her resume, her boss was very familiar with the DYW, and she was impressed with that and knew from that, that Brooke would be a committed person.”

Clark said a common phrase she hears from girls who are hesitant to participate is a concern they don’t have a talent.

“A lot of girls don’t want to participate because they don’t think they have a talent,” Clark said. “Everyone has a talent.”

The program will feature five girls from Chilton County who will have a talent portion, a physical fitness portion, an interview and self-expression.

During the self-expression portion, judges evaluate each contestant on grace, poise, demeanor, carriage, posture and speaking ability. The girls will also be given 20 seconds to answer an on-stage question.

Judges also look at each contestant’s overall physical stamina during the physical fitness portion including coordination, agility and flexibility during a choreographed group aerobic routine.

Each contestant has an individual spotlight during the routine.

A panel of scholars, counselors and others familiar with high school transcript evaluations review and score each contestant’s high school academic record and test scores for the scholastics portion.

The interview segment allows judges to evaluate the personality of each contestant, her ability to relate to others, maturity and ability to express herself during a 10-minute personal interview.

Tayler Mazingo, who graduated in May from Jemison High School, was selected to represent the 2014 Chilton County DYW.

“It has been a wonderful experience for me,” Mazingo said. “This program is all about being a well-rounded person. I have met so many wonderful people, and wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world.”

Mazingo represented Chilton County in the preliminary to state competition Jan. 10-18 in Montgomery.

“I went down to Montgomery for a week, and got to stay with a host family,” Mazingo said. “We had a lot of practice days, we got to do different outings, and there were 48 of us who competed so I now have 47 other friends from all over Alabama.”

Mazingo said her favorite part about the program is the opportunity to meet different people.

“This program connects you with people in so many different ways,” Mazingo said. “If you say you are a member of DYW, it is recognized by other people. You gain friends, and become a stronger person throughout the whole process. I have had a truly great year.”

Mazingo was awarded $750 for participating in the state competition and won $1,400 in scholarships in the Chilton County program.

She will attend UAB in the fall where she will major in bio-medical sciences with an emphasis in research and minor in healthcare management.

In the meantime, Mazingo has spent the majority of the week helping the five contestants prepare for Saturday’s program.

“I have just been helping everyone get ready,” Mazingo said. “It will be bittersweet for me, but I am ready for the next girl to get to experience everything I have gotten to. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world. It has been a wonderful experience.”

Clark said all of the money used for scholarships is raised, and this year a total of $3,500 will be awarded to those participating.

Admission charge to the Distinguished Young Women program on July 12 is $5 per person.

Tickets can be purchased at the door at Chilton County High School.

For more information, contact Clark or Leslee Deavers at