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Roller to represent county at DYW program in Montgomery

Makenzie Roller will represent Chilton County next week as she spends time in Montgomery vying for the Alabama state title of Distinguished Young Women.

Makenzie Roller will represent Chilton County next week as she spends time in Montgomery vying for the Alabama state title of Distinguished Young Women.  (Contributed)

Makenzie Roller will represent Chilton County next week as she spends time in Montgomery vying for the Alabama state title of Distinguished Young Women. (Contributed)

Roller, a senior at Verbena High School, was selected in July 2015 to be the 2016 Chilton County Distinguished Young Woman.

The 2016 Distinguished Young Women of Alabama Scholarship Program will be held on Jan. 15-16.

Roller is scheduled to arrive in Montgomery on Friday to begin her time practicing and attending various events in the Montgomery area, leading up to the finals on Jan. 16.

While in Montgomery, Roller will stay with a DYW “host family” Ami and Dana McKinney, and will room with Houston County’s DYW Katherine Carothers.

While in Montgomery, the 52 contestants from across Alabama will visit various groups and community venues while preparing for the program, according to a release from the Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama for 2016.

Participants will be competing for $41,000 in cash scholarships and more than $2 million in college granted scholarships, and the opportunity to represent the state as the Distinguished Young Woman of America.

The women will be evaluated by a panel of five judges in categories that include scholastics (25 percent), interview (25 percent), fitness (15 percent), self-expression (15 percent) and talent (20 percent).

The participant selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama will advance to the national level at the 59th Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile in June, where she will join the 49 other state representatives in competing for cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America.

Founded in 1958 in Mobile, the Distinguished Young Woman program is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls, according to the release.

During its 57 years of operation, the program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 730,000 young women.

Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided more than $367 million in cash and college scholarship opportunities to program participants at the local, state and national level.

Previously known as America’s Junior Miss, the program announced its new name in June 2010.

The mission of Distinguished Young Women is to “positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent,” according to the release.