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Matthews achieves lifelong goal

One of Greenville’s brightest young ladies was granted an opportunity to represent Butler County as a candidate for the title of Alabama’s Distinguished Young Woman, and she walked away from it all with something far more valuable than scholarships.

For nearly 55 years, the Distinguished Young Woman (DYW) program has offered scholarship opportunities to aspiring college students, as well as the more intangible tools necessary to be successful — self confidence, communication skills, grace and physical fitness.

Anne Matthews, a senior at Fort Dale Academy, was chosen to compete for the title after advancing from the local level of the competition in August.

“I can truly say the whole DYW experience was incredible,” Matthews said. “From the local programs to the state programs, I had so much fun being around girls that are talented, and that have high standards for themselves.”

Despite the competitive nature of DYW, her fondest memories of the experience involved her peers — specifically, a huge dance number that the entire group performed on the opening day of the competition.

“There was a moment when we were all practicing during dress rehearsals for the opening number, and you just get this sense of pride once you finish your routines on stage, and that was pretty neat,” Matthews said.

Matthews has been attending the DYW program on the local, state and national level since she was a little girl.

“I’ve always found the program so inspiring as well as all of those talented, smart girls that are able to compete,” Matthews added. “I’ve been watching it for all of these years. I’ve made it a goal of mine since I was a little girl, and being able to accomplish that goal is really neat. And just what the program stands for — being healthy, involved, studious, active and responsible … those are all of the qualities to look for, especially in a young woman.”