Cullman County’s Distinguished Young Women

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Distinguished Young Women is a scholarship program available to High School juniors nation-wide, offering life skills, network contacts and scholarships to deserving young women. (Distinguished Young Women)

CULLMAN, Ala- The Distinguished Young Women (DYW) Scholarship program is a precious scholarship resource for young women in the Cullman Community and young ladies nationwide.

“This is a unique program that combines the opportunity to win college scholarships with Life Skills training. Through this program, participants learn interviewing, public speaking, self-confidence building and more,” Said DYW Chairman Felicia Carden. “They also take part in Be Your Best Self workshop – learning tools they need to success like setting goals, being responsible, and making healthy lifestyle choices.”.

In the early 1920’s, Mobile’s Junior Chamber of Commerce members, dubbed the Jaycees, began a floral-centric pageant, hoping to entice locals to participate in community beautification projects that often-included flowers and flora. In 1958, Following World War Two and vast interest from girls from neighboring states, the Jaycees opened the pageant to all high school juniors and named the program America’s Junior Miss. Today, the Junior Miss program has once again been renamed, this time to Distinguished Young Women; a name that notates the world’s changing philosophy around the physical beauty of young women and instead their intellectual, social and philanthropical prowess. The DYW program has caught and kept the attention of the masses over the past decades, drawing 780,000 young women and awarding over $170 million in scholarship funds.

The program’s mission statement is,

“To empower young women to develop their full, individual potential by providing scholarships, personal development opportunities and a positive peer network”.

Distinguished Young Women of Cullman County is excited to invite the community’s young women who are Juniors in the Class of 2025 to an informational meeting on March 16, 2024, at First Baptist Church at 10 a.m. for any young ladies who may be interested in exploring the Distinguished Young Women program and all the benefits it can bring. As the nation’s largest and oldest scholarship program, over $1 Billion in college-granted scholarships from the program’s over 100 partner colleges and universities and cash tuition passed through the organization in 2023, a number only expected to grow in 2024.

“Distinguished Young Women isn’t a traditional competition. Each program culminates in an onstage showcase, which is a vital part of building self-confidence and challenges participants to step out of their comfort zone and express themselves in front of a live audience.” Carden explains, “Participants are evaluated in the categories of scholastics (25%), interview (25%), talent (20%), fitness (15%) and self-expression (15%). And all participants have college-granted scholarships available to them just for participating.”

Cullman County’s current Distinguished Young Woman, Isabel Horton, represented Fairview High School and Cullman County at the state-level DYW conference that was held in Montgomery in early Jan. 2024, earning valuable skills, experience, network contacts and general knowledge that will carry over to careers and opportunities that young women may face in the future; effectively giving the participating young women a hand up and head start on a fulfilling, enriching life.

DYW will hold an informational meeting on March 16, 2024, at First Baptist Church at 10 a.m. FBCC is located at 501 Second Avenue Southwest.

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