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Beauty & brains: DYW program this weekend

MESSENGER PHOTO/SCOTTIE BROWN The Distinguished Young Women scholarship competition will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Claudia Crosby Theater at Troy University. Pictured are this year’s participants. Front row, from left, are Cassidy Oswald, Kelli Grant and Elizabeth Watson. Middle row, from left, are Morgan Vardaman, Olivia Schroeder, Carli Barron and Hillary Barron. Back row, from left, are Kaci Gibbons, Chelsea Holland, Tamaya Davenport and Kaylin Riley.

MESSENGER PHOTO/SCOTTIE BROWN
The Distinguished Young Women scholarship competition will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Claudia Crosby Theater at Troy University. Pictured are this year’s participants. Front row, from left, are Cassidy Oswald, Kelli Grant and Elizabeth Watson. Middle row, from left, are Morgan Vardaman, Olivia Schroeder, Carli Barron and Hillary Barron. Back row, from left, are Kaci Gibbons, Chelsea Holland, Tamaya Davenport and Kaylin Riley.

Nearly a dozen young women from Pike County are participating in a week’s worth of activities leading up to the 2016 Distinguished Young Women (DYW) scholarship and life skills at 2 p.m. Saturday at Claudia Crosby Theater.

“We are extremely happy about participation this year,” said Candy Shaughnessy, director of DYW of Pike County. “It opens a lot of opportunities for the girls in our community.

DYW is a program designed to allow young women to compete for scholarships. Its mission, as written on the website, is “to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent.”

Eleven girls from Pike County are participating this year. The participants are from Charles Henderson High School, Pike Liberal Arts School, Pike County High School and New Life Christian Academy. Each participant has a little sister, who also participates in the activities and workshops leading up to the program.

Those participating include Cassidy Oswald, Kelli Grant, Elizabeth Watson, Morgan Vardaman, Olivia Schroeder, Carli Barron, Hillary Barron, Kaci Gibbons, Chelsea Holland, Tamaya Davenport and Kaylin Riley. The “little sisters” include Marah-Katelin Davis, Mia Smith, Madison Brown, Amelia Steele, Laura Lynn Davis, Addyson Bryan, Lindsey Fox, Chloe Dorrill and Havyn Dates.

“We are excited about the little sisters and we hope we are recruiting them for next year’s program in addition to any other girls wanting to participate,” Shaughnessy said.

MESSENGER PHOTO/SCOTTIE BROWN The Distinguished Young Women scholarship competition will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Claudia Crosby Theater at Troy University. Pictured are the “little sisters: of the participants. Front row, from left, are Marah-Katelin Davis, Mia Smith, Madison Brown and Amelia Steele. Back frow, from left, are Laura Lynn Davis, Addyson Bryan, Lindsey Fox, Chloe Dorrill and Havyn Dates.

MESSENGER PHOTO/SCOTTIE BROWN
The Distinguished Young Women scholarship competition will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Claudia Crosby Theater at Troy University. Pictured are the “little sisters: of the participants. Front row, from left, are Marah-Katelin Davis, Mia Smith, Madison Brown and Amelia Steele. Back frow, from left, are Laura Lynn Davis, Addyson Bryan, Lindsey Fox, Chloe Dorrill and Havyn Dates.

Participants are judged on fitness and nutrition, talent, scholastics, an interview and self-expression. Each young woman will demonstrate a fitness routine with the group and individually for 15 percent of their score. Talent is 20 percent, and each participant performs a 90 second talent. Scholastics consist of each participant’s ACT score, GPA and high school course work, coming together for 25 percent of the score. The interview is not done the night of the program; however the 10-mintue interview counts for another 25 percent. Self -expression will be demonstrated on stage with each participant answering a question for the final 15 percent.

To help with all of these areas, the DYW participants have been attending workshops throughout the summer to learn more about what it means to be a distinguished young woman.

“They are really focusing on life skills this year,” Shaughnessy said. “Because of that we are holding life skills workshops.”

There were four workshops including fitness and nutrition; stage makeup, hair and talent; interviewing skills and dressing for success; and Etiquette 101, in which the young women learned about table manners and everyday etiquette.

“That will help them wherever they are, but it will also help them with events they are attending throughout the week,” Shaughnessy said.

On Monday, the girls appeared on The Mike Amos Show and had breakfast with Stephanie Carter, owner of Southern Fashion House and designer of DejaVu, Judith March, Missy Robertson and Jacque & Janis clothing and accessory lines.

“They did a really good job on The Mike Amos Show,” Shaughnessy said. “They really enjoyed listening to Stephanie Carter. It went really well, and it was a good way for them to start the week.

Tuesday, the young women will be attending Troy Rotary, where they can put their etiquette skills to the test when interacting with the community and community officials. They will attend a sketching class with an international artist at the Johnson Center for the Arts Wednesday. On Thursday, they will be at Milky Moo’s hosting a fundraiser from 2 to 5 p.m. Forty percent of the ice cream sales will go toward the DYW scholarship fund. They will also have good luck posters, and anyone can sign the poster for $1, which will also go toward the scholarship funds.

“I’m excited for the week’s events leading up to the program,” Shaughnessy said. “The Pike County community is highly involved. We have events every day. I think it’s vital that the community knows that this program exists, and the girls need to see that they are making a difference in the community.

After all of these events, the young women will come together for final preparations. They will also vote for the young woman who has shown the “spirit of Junior Miss,” one of the honors awarded at the program.

While there is one overall winner, others will receive scholarships from different categories such as talent and fitness and The Spirit of Junior Miss.

“I see that this group has become a close group and they are really good at encouraging and building each other up,” Shaughnessy said. “They spread self confidence and are supportive as a group. That’s what this is about. It’s about supporting each other and making a difference in our community and setting and achieving goals.”

The DYW program will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at The Claudia Crosby Theater at Troy University. Admission is $5 with all money going toward the scholarship fund.

“It would be great to have a big turnout for these girls Saturday,” Shaughnessy said.