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Ramlochan wins 2020 DYW title

STANFORD — When SaraGrace Ramlochan decided to enter the 2020 Distinguished Young Women (DYW) of Lincoln County program at the end of her junior year, she had one goal in mind.

“I just wanted to enter it to become a better person at the end,” said Ramlochan.
She did that — and more.

The 17-year-old high school senior became the latest Lincoln County student to wear the coveted medallion and earn valuable scholarship monies as she was named the 2020 Distinguished Young Woman of Lincoln County Saturday evening at the Stuart Underwood Auditorium.

“I’m absolutely shocked,” Ramlochan said. “I did enter to just become a better person, and I am a different person. I have more composure. I have more ideas than I did before. I did not enter for this reason (to win) at all. I am overwhelmed and beyond excited about what’s to come.”

“What’s to come” is another DYW program. As the newest Lincoln County DYW, Ramlochan will now represent the county at the state program in January.

Along with her title, medallion and right to represent Lincoln County in the Kentucky DYW program, Ramlochan pocketed thousands of dollars in scholarship monies – $6,100 in cash scholarships as a matter of fact – thanks to preliminary wins in judges’ interview, talent, self expression and fitness and a runner-up finish in scholastic achievement.

Even after collecting all those preliminary awards, Ramlochan, the daughter of Jai and Loliter Ramlochan of Waynesburg, said it didn’t really sink in that there was a strong possibility that she could be the DYW winner.

“I think it was a complete shock,” she said. “But I think, maybe, I was in that moment where I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going for it. I’m going to get that certificate.’”

Ramlochan, who was presented her title and medallion by Jessie Wilson, the 2019 DYW, received a $4,100 cash scholarship as the overall winner. She received a $500 cash scholarship for both her judges’ interview win and her runner-up finish in scholastic achievement. Ramlochan also received $400 for talent and $300 in both self expression and fitness.

Ramlochan sang “My Heart Will Go On” during her talent presentation.

Ramlochan said that being well-prepared and the rapid pace of the night’s program helped keep her worries at a minimum throughout the competition.

“I think I was well-prepared for everything. The entire committee did a very good job of preparing us for everything,” she said. “The night of the program I really think everything was happening so quickly that I just wasn’t thinking about it. I just wanted to finish it and move on.”

It didn’t hurt that Ramlochan was working alongside friends.

“We were all very close to begin with,” she said of the nine candidates. “We’ve all been friends since the sixth grade, so it was a very comfortable environment for everyone. I’m just so proud of everybody.”

Each of the DYW candidates was judged prior to the contest during a 10-minute interview with the panel of judges. The interview represented 25 percent of the total score. Another 25 percent of the score was based on the participant’s scholastic achievement. The remaining 50 percent of the judging was completed Saturday evening, divided between talent (20 percent), self expression (15 percent) and fitness (15 percent).

During the talent preliminary, each participant selected her own costume and props. The participants also chose their own gowns for the self-expression segment. In the fitness portion of the program, participants performed both a group and individual routine.

The 2020 first runner-up was Brayli Steberl. Steberl, the daughter of Kathy and Alan Long and Jim and Sonya Steberl, received a $3,100 cash scholarship for first place.

Steberl was also a winner in the talent and self-expression preliminaries. She received a 400 cash scholarship in talent and $300 in self expression. For her talent, Steberl performed a musical theatre number to ‘Popular” from Wicked. She also received a Friends of Lincoln County DYW Award worth $200.

The second runner-up was Katie Koontz, the daughter of Sarah Koontz and Douglas Koontz. She received a $2,100 cash scholarship as runner-up.

Koontz also won a $500 cash scholarship for her judges’ interview win and a $400 cash scholarship in talent. Koontz performed a saxophone solo for her talent presentation. She was also voted on by her fellow contestants as the winner of the Phyllis Cooley Memorial Spirit Award. She received $600 for the honor.

Kennedy Kirkpatrick, the daughter of Michaelena Kirkpatrick and William Kirkpatrick, received a $1,100 cash scholarship as third runner-up. In addition, Kirkpatrick won a $500 cash scholarship for a judges’ interview preliminary win and another $500 cash scholarship as a scholastic achievement runner-up.

There were several DYW candidates who walked away with multiple wins Saturday.

Sierra Potts, Savannah Hammons, Trinity Shearer and Laura Ferguson were all recipients of three scholarships.

Potts, the daughter of Tony and Stephanie Potts, was declared the overall scholastic achievement winner, which netted her a $1,000 cash scholarship. She also received $300 cash scholarships in the self expression preliminary and as a Friends Award winner.

Hammons, the daughter of Aaron and Tammy McNew, captured preliminary wins in judges’ interview and fitness and also received a Friends of Lincoln County DYW Award. She received $500 cash scholarships for the interview win and the Friends Award and a $300 scholarship for the fitness win.

Shearer, the daughter of Brian and Rebecca Shearer, won a $400 cash scholarship as one of the talent winners and $300 cash scholarships as a fitness winner and a co-winner of the Jennifer Baker “Be Your Best Self” Award. For her talent, Shearer performed “The Not So Wicked Witch” monologue.

Ferguson, the daughter of Andy and Carol Ann Ferguson, rounds out the list of multi-award winners in the DYW program. She collected $300 cash scholarships for preliminary wins in the categories of self expression and fitness and was a co-winner of the Jennifer Baker “Be Your Best Self” Award. The “Be Your Best Self” scholarship was $300.

Lydia Rice was awarded a $500 cash scholarship as the scholastic achievement first runner-up. Rice is the daughter of Danie and Vickie Rice.

Mollie Lair, Lincoln County’s 2007 Junior Miss, served as mistress of ceremonies for the program. Lair is now an anchor and reporter at WLWT News 5, the NBC affiliate in Cincinnati.