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Gaston to vy for DYW state title

Madison Gaston (right) was crowned Butler County’s Distinguished Young Woman this year, and she’ll be vying for the statewide title and at least $40,000 in scholarships.

Madison Gaston (right) was crowned Butler County’s Distinguished Young Woman this year, and she’ll be vying for the statewide title and at least $40,000 in scholarships.

Butler County’s own Distinguished Young Woman Madison Ann Gaston will be joining high school senior girls from across the state this weekend as they begin an intense and exciting week of preparations for the state program. The 60th Annual Alabama Distinguished Young Women Program is slated for January 20 and 21 at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery.  The participants arrived (will arrive?) in Montgomery on Friday the 13th to meet their host families for DYW Week.

Gaston, a senior at Fort Dale Academy, will be vying for a portion of the $40,000-plus in cash scholarship monies and over $2 million in college-granted scholarships granted at the state level, as well as the opportunity to represent the state as its Distinguished Young Woman for 2017.

Before they reach next weekend’s program, however, Gaston and her fellow participants will stay on the go with numerous daily rehearsals along with wardrobe fittings, meetings, visits to the Kiwanis Club, RSA Activity Center, several Montgomery-area elementary schools, the Montgomery Zoo and, oh yes—more rehearsals. While they will not be in direct touch with their families until program weekend, the young women will have little time to feel homesick. From reports given by past participants, Gaston will, in the coming days, experience an exciting and unforgettable week.

Gaston took the Scholastics, Fitness and Talent Categories at the county program last August, earning more than $2,500 in cash scholarship monies plus an additional $500 stipend for State DYW Week expenses. A longtime dance student of Sonya Rice, Gaston performed a contemporary dance to “Stereotype” by Black Violin. She also serves as a student athlete and varsity cheerleader for FDA.

The 49 young women competing at state will be evaluated by a panel of five judges in the following categories:  Scholastics (25%), Interview (25%), Fitness (15%), Self-Expression (15%), and Talent (20%).  The participant selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama will advance to the National level at the 60th Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile, Alabama on June 29th – July 1st, 2017, where she will join with 49 other state representatives in competing for cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America. 

For those who would like to cheer Gaston on in person,

Tickets are available for Friday night, January 20th, 2017 at 7:30pm -$17.00; Saturday afternoon, January 21stth, 2017 at 1:30pm – $17.00, and

Saturday night, January 21stth, 2017 at 7 pm – $30.00.  A weekend pass is available for $55.

For more information on tickets, email AlabamaDYWtickets@gmail.com