B y Derek Liebig
A dozen young women will showcase their talents and accomplishments during Whitehall’s 51st Distinguished Young Women program this weekend.
A local tradition for more than a half-century, this year’s program will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Whitehall High School.
This year’s show features 12 seniors.
They are: Rachel Aubin, Oshen Beayon, Samantha Briggs, Paige Chaplin, Malia DeLorme, Riley Eagan, Kelsey Farley, Mackenzie Fiorini, Cariana Jones, Bryanna Millard, Taryn Tracy and Madison Winters. Ashley Davis was supposed to participate but was injured and will not perform Saturday.
“They’re an excellent group of girls. They’re very well-rounded group and work well together. They all get along well,” Cheryl Putorti, one of the event’s coordinators, said.
Participants go through a six-week program, meeting at the school twice a week in preparation for next week’s show. But many began preparing for the event even earlier.
“They’ve learned (their routines) very quickly,” Putorti said. “Some came ready at the beginning and had picked out their routines.”
Besides working on Saturday’s performance, the girls also serve as mentors to fourth grade girls as part of the “Be your best self” program. On Monday, the girls and their little sisters picked apples at Hick’s Orchard in Granville.
On Saturday night, a panel of five judges will evaluate each girl’s abilities in scholastics, an interview, a fitness routine, a talent and self expression.
The talent portion of the event is selected by each participant and in the past has included dancing, singing, dramatic monologues, and more.
The self expression portion is typically a question chosen randomly from several questions.
The interview and scholastic portions of the program are normally determined prior to the event.
Winners in each category will receive scholarships awards, along with the overall Distinguished Young Woman award and the first- and second runners up.
Putorti said the success of the local Distinguished Young Women is a result of the generous support of the local individuals, businesses and organizations who donate money that is distributed to participants in the form of scholarships.
The Distinguished Young Women program, originally known as Junior Miss, was launched in1958 in Mobile, Ala. and is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. More than 700,000 girls have participated in the program nationally.
It seeks to recognize, reward, and encourage excellence by focusing attention on the constructive achievements of outstanding high school girls through the presentation of scholarships.
Saturday’s event will also include the auction of a number of basket items donated by individuals and local businesses.
Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 and will be available at the door.