Distinguished Young Women, formerly America’s Junior Miss, is the oldest and largest scholarship programs for high school girls. Dating back to its first program in 1958, over 777,000 girls have competed across the nation. Famous alums include Diane Sawyer, Debra Messing and Lindsey Stirling.
Doria Wilson, one of Kentucky’s regional directors, has been volunteering with the program for 28 years. Her experience started as a participant in high school.
“I want to be a part of that experience for future generations of young ladies,” Wilson said. “This program cultivates young women to further their education with scholarship monies and encourages them to take on meaningful leadership roles.”
Each participant competes in categories including scholastics, personal interview, talent, fitness and self-expression or evening gown. Local program winners advance to the state level held each January in Lexington.
“This is a huge opportunity for our community to stand behind our young girls and give them a platform to strengthen their talents and skills as they prepare for their future,” Wilson said. “As the fourth largest community in Kentucky, we need to be represented at the state and national level for DYW.”
Young women interested in competing must be entering their senior year of high school.
“We have a community full of amazing young girls who will shine in this organization,” said Daviess County volunteer Patti Jenkins.
While Distinguished Young Women already has programs in 31 other Kentucky counties, this will be the first to be held in Daviess County, giving the opportunity for local young women to earn college scholarships.
“We’ve been wanting to get a program started in Owensboro because of the size of the community and the number of high schools. It’s very exciting knowing the process is starting and even more young ladies will get to experience it,” Wilson said. “Volunteers and participants can expect many things from their experience in the program — new friendships, hard work, gaining self-confidence and empowerment.”
An information session for volunteers wanting to be involved in the 2019 Daviess County program will be held Thursday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Kenergy Operations Building training room located at 3111 Fairview Dr.
Interested participants can visit the Distinguished Young Women website for details on how to enter.