Ayers to compete in final DYW round

Published 1:39 pm Friday, January 13, 2017

Pictured is Railey Ayers last summer during the 2017 Crenshaw County Distinguished Young Women program as she performs her monologue.

Pictured is Railey Ayers last summer during the 2017 Crenshaw County Distinguished Young Women program as she performs her monologue.

“I honestly did not think I was going to do it until I realized my school didn’t have a representative. And I thought, you know we probably need a representative, that would be a nice thing,” said Railey Ayers when asked why she wanted to participate in last year’s 2017 Crenshaw County Distinguished Young Women (DYW) program.

“So, I just decided I would more or less wing it, and the outcome was a lot better than I expected.”

What started off as a whim soon became a win for Ayers as she was named the 2017 Crenshaw County DYW in June.

After taking the lead in category winners, Ayers was crowned by fellow Crenshaw Christian Academy student HeartLee Pittman, 2016 Crenshaw County DYW.

Founded in Mobile by the Mobile Junior Chamber of Commerce, DYW is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. DYW has established a unique system to evaluate contestants in the categories of scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression.

Pictured is Railey Ayers after she was named the 2017 Crenshaw County Distinguished Young Woman. Ayers will travel to Montgomery on Friday to prepare for the final round of the program.

Pictured is Railey Ayers after she was named the 2017 Crenshaw County Distinguished Young Woman. Ayers will travel to Montgomery on Friday to prepare for the final round of the program.

In the talent portion of the competition, Ayers entertained the audience with a monologue she wrote herself entitled “The Wall,” loosely based on her own experiences in school.

Ayers stated that she actually wrote the monologue while on the bus to Girls State; the process took about 10 minutes. Ayers said that after combing the Internet for monologue options, she could not find one that suited her preferences; so, she dove into writing.

“I never actually memorized it. It was more or less of an improv when I got up there and did it,” she said.

Now Ayers prepares to head into the next and final round of her competition in Montgomery.

Ayers and other participants will arrive in Montgomery on Friday, Jan. 13 and will be united with their host homes. The girls will reside with these homes until the conclusion of the program.

“It’s going to be a new experience because I’ll be gone for eight days. I’ll arrive on Friday and leave the next Saturday after the show, but during this time we aren’t allowed access to any electronics, including Internet access of any kind and cellphones,” Ayers said.

“We aren’t allowed to have any direct contact with parents during the week either, but I am excited to be staying with my host family, Brent and Anita Mayhew of Montgomery, and my house mate Ann-Marie, who is the DYW of Mobile County.”

The final three performances will be held at Frazier United Methodist Church in Montgomery on Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21.

Three different shows take place over the two days with the second preliminary round and final round on Saturday. The first two shows will include the competition, and the third and final show on Saturday will be the closing performance and announcing of winners.

For the most part, the girls will be on a tight practice schedule, but Ayers does note a few outings planned.

Pictured is Railey Ayers with her family at a send off party hosted by Crenshaw Christian Academy Monday night.

Pictured is Railey Ayers with her family at a send off party hosted by Crenshaw Christian Academy Monday night.

“There are a few trips scattered here and there, such as a quick trip to the Montgomery Zoo, an oyster eating contest at Wintzell’s and other fun activities,” she said.

“Most of the week will consist of rehearsals. About six hours a day is set aside to practice.”

Even though she is nervous about leaving her friends and family, Ayers knows that the experience will be a beneficial one for her.

“We’re excited. I think she’s going to represent us well. I think she’s going to do really well in interview, and I think she will really have an enjoyable experience and learn a lot about herself while she’s there,” said Mallory Carpenter, program director.

“Being away from home is very difficult, especially having no contact with your parents, friends or family members except through letters and emails. But it’s also a rewarding experience too when you get to the end of it and you know you can do it.”