EDITORIAL: Selma Charity League, businesses step up for scholarships

Published 4:15 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Distinguished Young Women program has seen many changes over the years, both locally and nationally.

Most people of a certain age probably remember the program as American’s Junior Miss, which it was for many years — even being televised nationally.

In recent years, the program rebranded itself as Distinguished Young Women to differentiate the program from other beautify pageants.

Organizers are quick to point out DYW is definitely not a  beauty pageant with its focus on scholastics, self-expression and an interview with a panel of judges.

Locally, the program has changed over the years too since being founded in 1976. The Selma Civitan Club was a longtime sponsor of the program, giving out more than $10,000 in scholarships every year, and continues to contribute.

The program is now organized by a committee, which Demisha Stough is chairwoman, and has new partners.

The Selma Charity League has gotten behind the program as a diamond-level contributor this year, raising $2,200 for scholarships.

The Selma Charity is a group of young women who support nonprofits in Selma. They are known for providing Christmas gifts to children in need and selling pancakes to support the library’s summer reading program.

The charity league added another cause to their already full plate, raising money this summer through a trivia night and other fundraisers.

“We wanted a new project to take on and thought that helping and mentoring the younger adults in Selma and Dallas County would be a great opportunity,” said Anne Wilkinson, charity league president.

Bush Hog, the Civitan Club of Selma/Dallas County, International Paper, Lear Corporation and Vaughan Regional Medical Center also donated at least $1,000 for scholarships. Another 40 businesses or individuals contributed to the program.

Thanks to the generosity of these organizations, approximately $11,000 in scholarships were given out this past weekend. 2018 Distinguished Young Woman Kellee Scheer took home $4,000 for her college education.

Kudos to everyone who works to make the program happen and a difference in the lives of these young women.