The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Distinguished Young Woman to be named


Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Karly Cleveland awaiting the announcement of the winner last year.

The Distinguished Young Woman of Shafter competition is nearing, with 17 young ladies vying for the title.

The event will take place on Friday, March 15 at the Fred Starrh Performing Arts Center at Shafter High School, beginning at 7 p.m. This program is the oldest and biggest scholarship program for junior girls in the nation. The young ladies in the program this year in Shafter are Valeria Gomez, Alondra Celedon, Sydnie Colvard, Bernice Janel Marquez, Mia Valerie Ortiz, Natalia Elena Pena, Kristen McGuire, Kaelah Perez, Trinity Castillo, Valerie Fernandez, Asia Escobedo, Alexia Garcia, Clarissa Vander Poel, Stephanie Ledezma, Isis Brownlow, Samantha Zubiate and Aaliyah Cavoila.

Karly Cleveland was named the winner in 2018. Karly said that she had so much fun representing Shafter at the state competition and appreciated all of the cards, flowers and well wishes she received the week of the contest. "I have had such a great time representing Shafter this past year. I am proud to have been DYW of Shafter and I wish all of the girls good luck for this year," Karly said.

The program has different phases of competition, each one testing a different skill or quality of the competitors. The young ladies will have their transcripts and test scores reviewed for the Scholastic part of the program, as well as being interviewed by a panel of judges in the interview portion.

On the night of the event, the girls will be tested on their endurance, agility and overall fitness in the Physical Fitness phase. One of the most exciting, and nerve-wracking -- especially for the parents -- is the Creative Performance portion. Each competitor is given a chance to impress the judges with a talent performance of their choice.

In the Poise and Appearance phase, the girls will be judged on their ability to stay calm under pressure, gracefulness and overall composure.

The winner of the evening will receive a scholarship and the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Shafter and will represent Shafter in the state competition held in Bakersfield in July.

The Distinguished Young Women began in 1958 as America's Junior Miss, a national scholarship program for high school girls. The local program started in the mid-1970s, and this year marks the 41st anniversary.

Jamie Stewart | the Shafter Press

Karly Cleveland and her parents and family after the competition.

The nationwide program presented over $360 million in college scholarships to girls across the country in 2018. Distinguished Young Woman is open to all junior girls and rewards excellence in scholastic achievements, talent, physical fitness and self-expression. After three months of weekly rehearsals and life skills workshops, the participants put on a wonderful program for their families, friends, and the community.

DYW programs focus on providing applicable life skills for junior girls, such as interview workshops, digital responsibility training, public speaking, personal accountability and community involvement, and enables all participants the chance to earn scholarship money for college.

For advance tickets, contact Valarie Labrentz at [email protected] or call Shafter High School at 661-746-4961 and ask for Valarie Labrentz. Tickets -- $15 for floor-level seats $10 for balcony -- also will be available at the ticket window the evening of the program.



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