And this includes hundreds of family members, loved ones and friends who have accompanied these shining stars for this week’s statewide program, which is being hosted by our community for the third consecutive year.
Formerly recognized as the Junior Miss, this tremendous scholarship opportunity is enjoying its second year under the new name that best reflects its program goals.
In addition to cash scholarships, Distinguished Young Women participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from some 200 universities and institutes of higher learning. More than $50 million in college scholarship opportunities were provided last year, some of which included full tuition, room and board.
The week’s array of Cleveland-based activities kicks off this afternoon with a welcome reception hosted by the Museum Center at Five Points. It is an endearing moment in the lives of these young women because they will meet the local families who will serve as their Cleveland hosts for the next several days.
Participants also will be greeted by an inspiring young woman, one who is well familiar with the path they will travel this week. She is Katye Brock, the reigning Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee and Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011.
This week’s participants have traveled to Cleveland from all corners of Tennessee.
Including the DYW scholarship programs that each won in order to qualify for the state event, these beautiful, talented and likable young ladies are Bethany Rae Welch, Cumberland Valley; Baylee Michelle Norris, Soddy-Daisy; Sally Anna Harrison, Loudon County; Kiona Daishon Reese, Chattanooga Valley; Jessica Michelle Crisp, Knox County; Krista Michelle Ellis, Marion County; Emily Michelle Myers, Chattanooga; Kourtney Elizabeth Stanton, Gallatin; Kaitlyn Ashley Ray, Ooltewah; Victoria Lynn Williams, McMinn County; Natalie Ann Rayfield, Tullahoma; Emily Kate Fain, Sevier County; Diana Proffitt, Blount County; Victoria Jade Jocsing, Hamilton County; Khadeijdra “Kiki” Ann Carson, Shelby County; Casey Lauren Johnson, Knoxville; Jessie Richards, Robertson County; Lindsey Anne Limerick, Signal Mountain; Madeline Elaine Johnson, Jefferson County; Nicole Estelle Patton, Sumner County; Tarah Ann Hooks, Loudon; and Lexee Blair Hill, Rhea County.
And of course, Bradley County’s own Ariana Sabre Kim — the current Distinguished Young Woman of Cleveland — is among the excited field of hopefuls.
Their week will be exhilarating!
Monday will include two rehearsals and an evening “Barn Celebration” featuring a “good ol’ fashioned country hoedown” at the home of Sarah and Johnathan Cantrell. Tuesday will include more rehearsals and a community service visit to the Garden Plaza Retirement and Assisted Living facility. Wednesday will mean more rehearsals and meeting the judges. And Thursday? Even more rehearsals and a pool party at the home of Dr. John and Sheryl Jaggers. The two nights of competition get under way Friday at the beautiful Dixon Center on the Lee University campus.
A hardworking committee of Cleveland residents is making this week possible. They include Beverly Dunn, Tom Jenkins, Bob Edson, Larry McSpadden, Holly Williams Kesley, Donna Christian Lowe, Marty Lowe, Tara Pollard, Ramona Thompson, Heidi Longwith, Julie McCaslin, and Charles and Traci Dunn Fant.
We thank them all for their dedication in taking such an influential interest in the lives of these special young women.
We welcome all 23 Distinguished Young Women participants!
We hope you enjoy your stay in a hometown community that is proud to have you here!