Taylor Simmons wins Top 5 Self-Expression award in Distinguished Young Women of Alabama competition

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CULLMAN, Ala. – Distinguished Young Women of Cullman County is part of a national scholarship program that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent in young women. The high school seniors in the program learn life skills like interviewing, social media responsibility and public speaking.

Since Taylor Simmons was selected as Cullman’s Distinguished Young Woman, she was able to participate in the 65th Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama competition in Montgomery last week. Felicia Carden, Cullman County chair said Simmons was “so comfortable on stage. Everybody loved her. She was having a great time.”

Simmons is a high school senior at Holly Pond High School. After graduation, she plans to attend the University of Alabama to pursue a career as a Guardian ad litem. Some of her activities and honors include Key Club, Student Government Association, Beta Club, UA Early College Program, varsity cheerleading, varsity softball and archery.

Simmons had to experience a week of no communication at Montgomery with her host family for the competition. Her friends and family were able to send her letters and emails, though she did not have access to her phone.

“It was definitely hard. We learned a lot of routines for the performance for Friday and Saturday, but with all the friends I was able to meet and all the amazing girls that were there, it definitely made the experience worthwhile.”

Simmons competed in the Cullman County Fair Queen competition, and she does hope to compete in the Miss Alabama pageant, thus, the competition was not entirely new territory for her.

Simmons was one of the Top 5 winners for Self-Expression, which is an on-stage question. Taylor’s question was “What app would you want to develop to make American society better?” Taylor answered that she wanted to focus on spreading awareness about human trafficking.

She has already been awarded scholarship money for participating in Distinguished Young Women of Cullman County. She was awarded $4500 dollars for winning the interview portion of Cullman County’s community competition.

Taylor says, “You get money for Top 5 Self-Expression, Top 5 Community Service, Top 5 Scholastics, you get scholarship money for being in the Top 8, so there’s definitely so many scholarship opportunities. Out of the 45 girls, I think there was only about 15 that walked away without getting anything. It’s definitely a lot of money that’s given away.”

Distinguished Young Women is one of the largest and oldest national scholarship programs for high school girls. It has provided more than $3.3 million in cash scholarships at the National Finals alone and $92 million at local, state, and national programs combined.

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