2021 Distinguished Young Woman named

Published 10:16 am Monday, July 20, 2020

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Hannah Ellison of Jemison High School won Distinguished Young Woman of Chilton County on July 11 and will compete at the state level in 2021.

“It definitely came as a surprise,” Ellison said. “I knew I was giving it my all, but when they called my name, I was definitely shocked.”

Distinguished Young Woman is a scholarship competition that consists of scholastics (25%), interview (25%), talent (20%), fitness (15%) and self-expression (15%) portions.

In addition to the top prize, Ellison received awards for interview, fitness, scholastics, talent and self-expression. Ellison was also selected by the other contestants to receive the Spirit of DYW award.

Her scholarships related to these awards totaled nearly $4,000. She also received local gym memberships and a gift card to a local boutique.

She said she prepared for the competition by practicing her violin piece for the talent portion, working on her interview skills and preparing for the fitness portion of the competition.

One of Ellison’s friends had competed in the program previously, and Ellison’s mother encouraged her to participate.

“I honestly really didn’t want to until the competition was right around the corner and then I started getting really excited about it,” Ellison said. “I am kind of glad that my mom pushed me to be in the competition.”

Ellison said public speaking is not normally her favorite thing, but she enjoyed the self-expression portion of the competition because she felt she could give a good answer to the question.

Her on-stage question was “what is a good quality that you seek out in a friend?” Her answer focused on the importance of trustworthiness.

During the interview portion, judges asked Ellison questions from the biographical information she provided, in addition to questions about Chilton County, politics and current events.

Self-expression and fitness were her favorite categories. Even though she thought the fitness category would be difficult, Ellison said she enjoyed the choreography and had fun.

Ellison will compete at the state level in January. In the meantime, she plans on using her gym memberships to prepare for the fitness competition and continue to work on her interview skills.

She said she has heard that the fitness portion is “more demanding at the state level” and the interview portion “is not as simple and straight forward as the local” competition.

During time as the 2021 Distinguished Young Woman of Chilton County, Ellison hopes to be a role model to girls in the community and promote the DYW program.

“It is a great opportunity, not just for scholarships, but you make lifelong friends and memories and I think it is a great program,” Ellison said.

A number of activities and appearances are also in the works.

Ellison will start her senior year at JHS in August. After graduation, she plans on attending Auburn University and majoring in psychology