Anna Smith named county’s 2018 DYW

Published 3:22 pm Monday, July 17, 2017

Anna Smith was named the 2018 Chilton County Distinguished Young Woman during the annual competition on July 15 at Chilton County High School.

“I haven’t done anything like this [on-stage competition] in a while,” Smith said. “When I heard my name I thought ‘that can’t be right.’ Now its actually real.”

It was an eventful night for Smith, who also received awards in the interview, fitness and talent portions of the event.

A panel of judges rated the contestants in five categories that made up the standards of excellence used to determine each Distinguished Young Woman.

The scholastics and interview portions were each 25 percent of the overall score, talent presentation was 20 percent and fitness and self-expression were both 15 percent.

To win the honor of Distinguished Young Woman, a participant must prove to be a well-rounded individual with qualities in more than one of the categories.

According to Smith, she began preparing at the end of May, which included doing pushups nearly every day to get in better shape and ready for the fitness aspect.

For the talent portion Smith played the keyboard and sang “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

The decision behind her song selection was in memory of her grandfather who passed away five years ago.

“My mom and my grandmother didn’t know that I was doing that,” Smith said. “It had a whole lot of emotion with it.”

The judges took some time deliberating between the top three, which only added to the anxiety of the contestants and the crowd.

“It’s really nerve-racking,” Smith said.

Smith was named the winner with Brianna Price as first alternate and Emily Parrish second alternate.

“I am so happy to have such a great support system,” Smith said.

This has been so much fun already, I’m looking forward to what’s to come,” Smith said.

Next up for Smith, is the state competition held in Montgomery in January.

“She is in for the experience of a lifetime. State is something that I’m going to treasure forever all the friendships that I made and the skills that I gained,” 2017 Chilton County Distinguished Young Woman Ada Ruth Huntley said. “Enjoy the ride.”

Smith and Parrish will begin their senior year at Chilton County High School in the fall, while Price will be a senior at Verbena High School.

Also competing in the event was Alferria Agee and Catherine Staffney of CCHS and Hannah Northcutt of Jemison.

Price won awards in self-expression and the essay competition. Parrish achieved similar recognition in the scholastic category.

Staffney was presented with the spirit award sponsored each year by past winners.

Distinguished Young Women, formerly America’s Junior Miss has been taking place for the past 60 years with more than 700,000 participants from across the nation over that time.

Smith received a $1,200 cash scholarship as part of being named Distinguished Young Woman of Chilton County in 2018. She plans to attend Auburn University after high school.