Six vying for DYW titles

Published 3:05 pm Friday, July 22, 2016

Next weekend’s Distinguished Young Women of Butler and Lowndes Counties will offer a glimpse of some of the most outstanding high school seniors in the area.

Six young women are competing for their respective county’s coveted medallion and the scholarship funds that come along with it.

DYW is a scholarship program that was founded in 1958 in Mobile. It is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls, and has awarded more than $106 million in cash scholarships at the local, state and national levels since its creation.

In addition to cash scholarships, Distinguished Young Women participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from almost 100 colleges and universities. According to the DYW website, more than $1.1 billion in college scholarship opportunities were provided to DYW participants last year, some of which included full tuition, room, and board.

“This program is on of a kind in that it gives girls the opportunity to enhance different areas of the whole person which correspond with the five aspects of the ‘Be your Best Self’ platform, which are to be healthy, be involved, be studious, be ambitious, and be responsible,” said Starla Jones, chairperson of the Distinguished Young Women of Butler County. “Another wonderful part of the program is the life skills workshops. These workshops include topics such as college admissions tips, public speaking, interview techniques, personal safety, and other subjects that girls receive expert information in and gain skills that will follow them throughout their future endeavors.”

Participants in the competition are scored in academics, poise, talent, physical fitness and expression.

Vying for the title of Butler County’s Distinguished Young Woman are Fort Dale Academy’s Madison Ann Gaston and Jennifer Grace Arnold and Georgiana School’s Claire Ledbetter.

Competing for the Lowndes County title are Lowndes Academy’s Dakota Callaway and Keri Ward and Calhoun School’s Aja Lee.

Jones credited the community for making this program available to the contestants.

“This program would not be possible without the support of so many generous people who give of them time and talents, as well as their finances, to make it a success,” she said. “The more the community gives, the more we have to offer the young ladies in the way of experiences and scholarships.”

The competition will be held Saturday, July 30, at the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Greenville.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The competition will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.