Distinguished Young Women program is Saturday

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Event was formerly known as America's Junior Miss

By Nick Schrager


It’s the same competition, but it has a new name this year.
The program formerly known as Junior Miss has become the Distinguished Young Women program. Andrea New, one of three co-chairs for the local program, said the change came as a desire of sponsors to separate the event from beauty pageants.
“The national sponsors in Mobile, Ala., no longer wanted to sponsor the event because the name made it look more like a beauty pageant, and it isn’t,” New explained. “It’s a scholarship pageant. The word ‘miss’ looked to them as if it were a beauty pageant like others. They wanted to show that it’s more of a sophisticated program, something that encompasses scholastics, leadership and talent.”
A group of 15 young women will compete for that title Saturday, as well as the potential for thousands of dollars in cash and scholarships.
According to New, prizes come with each position in the final standings, as well as the spirit award, which brings $200 cash. The third runner-up will get a cash prize of $500, while second runner-up will win $750 in cash. The first runner-up will win $1,500 in cash. All who place in these spots will also have thousands of dollars in scholarship money from which to choose for their  education offered by participating colleges and universities. The winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize, as well as scholarship money, and the opportunity to receive half of her college tuition paid.
It’s often said there are no losers, and in this competition, that is definitely the case. New said each contestant, regardless of how they finish, will have the opportunity to receive a $1,500 scholarship for two years at Spencerian College, or a $2,000 scholarship for four years at Lindsey Wilson College.
New said the audience will enjoy the competition and be able to see events such as fitness and talent, two of the more vital categories in scoring take place before Saturday night’s public event.
“The scholastic and interview portions take place before Saturday night, and these are huge portions of the overall score,” she said.
The participants might make it look easy, but New said a lot of hard work went into the competition seen on stage. She said the girls have been practicing three times each week since spring break, and they have really made a lot of progress in that time.
New works alongside other co-chairs, including Kathy Taylor and LeAnn Mattingly, as well as some recent contest participants and winners. Washington County Junior Miss winners Anna Pettus (2011) and Josette Taylor (2010), and participants Ellen Goatley, Ashley Smith and Charlotte Campbell have helped this year’s field with choreography.
The contest starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Washington County High School. Tickets are on sale at Springfield State Bank’s Main Street and Bardstown Road locations, as well as BB&T and US Bank, and Nancy’s Place. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Concessions will be sold.