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 fifth consecutive year.
To each young contestant, to their beaming parents and grandparents, to their supportive siblings, to their legions 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 fourth year under the new name, one that more appropriately reflects the program’s objectives.
DYW participants are competing for scholarships and are eligible for college-granted awards from some 200 universities and institutes of higher learning. Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Ala., DYW is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. It has provided life-changing experiences for more than 700,000 young women across the country; and, its financial assistance provided by college scholarships reaches into the millions every year.
The week of Cleveland-based activities kicks off this afternoon with a welcome reception held at the Dixon Center on the Lee University campus.
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 Katie Ward, the 2013 Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee who won the competition in Cleveland last year.
These beautiful, talented and likable young ladies, and the respective programs they won in order to qualify for this week’s state competition, include: Summer Calhoun, Marion County; Kalah Vance, Tullahoma; Savannah Moua, Loudon County; Daelyn Waldroup, McMinn County; Ashley Boles, Chattanooga; Courtney Miller, Cumberland Valley; McKenzie Roberts, Sevier County; Jennifer Parker, North Chattanooga; Laura Kate Evans, Cleveland; Lillian Johnson, Jefferson County; Jessica Cable, East Hamilton; Lauren Bureau, Soddy-Daisy; Kimberly Youngblood, Signal Mountain; Rachel Jones, Lenoir City; Nicole Smith, Collierville; Rebecca Hilleary, Rhea County; Adair Tishler, Music City; and Peyton Jocsing, Hamilton County.
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 Center, the Salvation Army and even a pool party. Plus, the youngsters bright and early Thursday morning will meet with Bradley Sunrise Rotary members for their weekly breakfast at SkyRidge Medical Center.
After four days of rehearsals and community events, these marvelous young women will begin preliminary competition Friday at 7 p.m. at Dixon Center and the finals are set for Saturday evening, also at 7. Rehearsals and competition events all will be held in Dixon Center.
A hardworking committee led by Kay Free, who is succeeding Charles and Traci Fant in this coordinating role, is overseeing the entire week of activities.
To these 18 adopted daughters of Cleveland, welcome to our hometown!
We are thrilled you have joined us and we hope you enjoy your stay!