Our visitors include hundreds of family members, loved ones and friends who have accompanied these shining stars for this week’s statewide program which is proudly being held in Cleveland for the fourth consecutive year.
To each young contestant, to their beaming parents and grandparents, to their supportive siblings, to their legion of friends and to Distinguished Young Women of Tennessee program officials ... welcome all!
Formerly recognized as the Junior Miss, this tremendous scholarship opportunity is basking in its third year under the new name, one that more appropriately reflects the program objectives.
DYW participants are competing for scholarships and are eligible for college-granted awards from some 200 universities and institutes of higher learning. On average, more than $50 million in college scholarship opportunities are provided by the DYW program each year.
The week of Cleveland-based activities kicks off this afternoon with a welcome reception hosted by the beautiful new Fine Arts Center at Bradley Central High School. Other than the annual Trousdale School musical, this is the first major community function that is not school-related to be held in the spacious facility.
Today’s reception will go far beyond the traditional pomp and circumstance of such events. It is a heartwarming moment in the lives of these young women because they will be met by local families who will serve as their Cleveland hosts for the next several days. Also on hand will be Lexee Hill, 2012 Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee who represented Rhea County in last year’s program.
These beautiful, talented and likable young ladies, and the respective programs they won in order to qualify for this week’s state competition, include: Neely Marie Wood, Signal Mountain; Autumn Nicole Berry, Knox County; Mollie Anna Cline, Sumner County; Kurtisha Gayle Norris, Loudon County; Nicola Ann Matty, Tullahoma; Catherine “Caty” Joy Davis, Knoxville; Angelica Fultz, Williamson County; Taylor Simone McMahan, McMinn County; Alexandra “Ally” Hope Dunlay, Hamilton County; Ashley Lauren Heald, Cleveland; Yee Won Liew, Rhea County; Katherine “Katie” Elizabeth Ward, Chattanooga; Kaitlyn Elizabeth Bunn, Cumberland Valley; Alexandra “Alexa” Claire Disterdick, Soddy-Daisy; Jessi Alyssa Fuller, Sevier County; Brianna Catherine Sandoval, East Hamilton; Gabriella Elizabeth Broussard, Madison County; Kristen Elizabeth Clark, Cocke County; Carey Rhiannon “Rhiannon” Gilbert, Marion County; and Kara Doran Brummitt, Loudon.
Theirs will be an exciting week!
The days will be dominated by morning and afternoon rehearsals, but they also will enjoy several volunteer and relaxing activities at Garden Plaza Retirement Community, Leisure Time Bowling, the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway and a pool party. They’ll even visit with Bradley Sunrise Rotary members Thursday morning.
Preliminary competition comes Friday beginning at 7 p.m. and the finals are set for Saturday evening, also at 7. Rehearsals and competition events all will be held in the Fine Arts Center.
A hardworking committee led by Charles and Traci Dunn Fant is overseeing the entire week of activities.
To these 20 adopted daughters of Cleveland, welcome to our hometown! We are thrilled you have joined us and we hope you enjoy your stay!