Program features 17 area studentsPublished 8:50pm Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Curtains will open and 17 young women will grace the J.A. Pickard Auditorium stage for the 2011-2012 Distinguished Young Women of Dallas County Scholarship Program to be held Saturday, Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
And after dropping its former Dallas County Junior Miss moniker, the new program promises to continue the tradition of scholastic achievement, leadership and talent.
Program chair Ben Holifield said despite the name change, the program hasn’t changed and still recognizes the outstanding achievements of young women in Dallas County.
“The rules have not changed one bit, just the name,” Holifield said. “There is no change in scoring. It (the program) is to recognize distinguished young women from Selma and Dallas County — strengthen their communication, show them how to do a program etc. We’re trying to get away from the pageant feel and we’re hoping with the name change we’ll have a lot of interest.”
This year, Holifield said, the program has a great group of girls.
“Most of the participants really got a lot from the program,” Holifield said. “It’s very rewarding for the girls … they learn how to put on a program and how to work with others.”
The participants will compete in such categories as fitness, public speaking, interview, scholastics and on-stage talent, and have a chance to be eligible for more than $10,000 in college scholarships. Judges will also evaluate participants in self-expression — which will measure public speaking ability and personal knowledge of current events. The winning participant will advance to Alabama’s state program to be held Jan. 20 and 21 in Montgomery.
Program choreographer and production assistant for nearly 30 years Lisa Baker said she’s most proud of the number of participants this year.
“We have more girls this year … this year our numbers are up and it’s good to see the girls coming back,” Baker said. “It’s a wonderful scholarship opportunity.”
The girls have been practicing every Sunday afternoon since July to perfect their choreography for Saturday’s show. Body tone, flexibility, agility, stamina and coordination are what judges will look for, Baker said.
“The girls have to compete in a choreographed fitness routine and will be spotlighted individually within the routine,” Baker said.
“The girls are very excited. I think they’ve all had a very good experience from this. They’re all looking forward to it.”
The 2010-2011 Dallas County program winner and Morgan Academy graduate Rachael Sherrer, said the program is beneficial in all aspects.
“The interview process … just getting up on stage and speaking in front of a crowd just builds stage presence and gives you confidence,” said the University of Alabama freshman.
“One thing I really enjoyed is the girls I’ve met, especially in the state program. It’s good to see all the girls I’ve met (there), here. It feels like home.”
Sponsored by the Selma Civitan Club, the program annually awards more than $10,000 in cash scholarships. The program’s funds are made possible through local business and individual donations. Distinguished Young Women is the oldest and largest national scholarship program for high school girls, awarding more than $63 million in cash and college scholarships in 2010.