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Nine senior girls preparing for 2020 DYW program

STANFORD — Upcoming high school senior girls have a chance to win scholarship money for college while gaining lifelong skills for free.

The Distinguished Young Women (DYW) Program is a national scholarship program that works to inspire high school senior girls to develop their potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments.

Nine Lincoln County senior girls – Laura Ferguson, Savannah Hammons, Kennedy Kirkpatrick, Katie Koontz, Sierra Potts, SaraGrace Ramlochan, Lydia Rice, Trinity Shearer and Brayli Steberl – began that DYW experience Monday evening by taking part in the local program’s orientation held at the Stanford Presbyterian Church.

Current Lincoln County DYW Jessie Wilson will relinquish her title to one of these nine young ladies on Saturday, Sept. 21, during the 2020 Lincoln County Distinguished Young Women Program at the Stuart Underwood Auditorium.

Stuart Underwood, Lincoln County DYW committee member, welcomed the 2020 participants to the orientation and, with the help of other committee members, introduced them to the busy days that lay ahead over the next six weeks, including lots of practices, mock interviews, talent pre-shows and dress rehearsals before the big night on stage.

The DYW participants are competing for more than just a title, with thousands of dollars in cash scholarships up for grabs. The local program is recognized annually as the top state program for cash-offered scholarships and ranks consistently among the Top 3 nationwide.

The winner of a recent 2020 DYW program won a $1,000 cash scholarship as the top winner. This year’s Lincoln County DYW winner will walk away with more than triple that amount with a $4,100 cash scholarship awarded to the title holder.

Lincoln will be doling out a minimum of $20,620 in cash scholarships (additional donations could boost the totals by the program date). The winner receives the top cash scholarship of $4,100. The first runner-up receives a $3,100 cash scholarship, the second runner-up gets $2,100 and the third runner-up gets $1,100.

There will also be hundreds of thousands of dollars in college-offered scholarships also available to the participants.

To be eligible for cash scholarship awards, the DYW participants are evaluated in five preliminary categories, including scholastic achievement, interview, talent, self expression and fitness. Scholastics and interview both account for 25 percent of a participant’s score, talent represents 20 percent and self expression and fitness each represent 15 percent.

As a scholastic program, DYW puts special emphasis on academics. A $1,000 cash scholarship will be awarded to the overall scholastic achievement winner. The first runner-up will receive $500 and the second and third runners-up each receive $450.

Four awards will be presented in each of the preliminary areas of interview, talent, self expression and fitness. Four awards of $450 will be presented in interview, four awards of $355 will be given in talent and four awards of $300 will be presented in both the self expression and fitness categories.

In addition, a $600 Jennifer Baker “Be Your Best Self” Award and a $600 Phyllis Cooley Memorial Spirit Award will be presented.

The DYW Program is held annually on three levels – local, state and national – and is open to high school senior girls.