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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

New Distinguished Young Woman to be named


March 12, 2020 | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

2019 Distinguished Young Woman Kristen McGuire surrounded by her court, 4th Alternate Isis Brownlow, 2nd Alternate Clarissa Vander Poel, 1st Alternate Aaliyah Chavolla and 3rd Alternate Kaelah Perez.

The annual Distinguished Young Woman competition is nearing, with Shafter ready to name a new representative that will compete at the state competition in Bakersfield in July.

Kristen McGuire will present her title to the new winner on Friday, March 20, at the Fred Starrh Performing Arts Center at Shafter High School. This year, the program has 14 participants looking to grab the title.

The Distinguished Young Woman program, originally the Junior Miss program, is the oldest and largest scholarship program for junior girls. The competition includes different phases that test the young ladies' physical fitness, poise, self-expression, scholastic achievements and public speaking skills.

There is a scholarship award for every category, ranging from $100 to $2,000 for the girl who wins the title. The Shafter program is one of the oldest in the state, as well as one of the programs with the most support from its community.

This year the participants have learned a physical fitness routine that tests their endurance, flexibility and overall fitness. One of the highlights of the event is the talent portion of the competition. Each participant performs in a medium of their choice, displaying their talent and self-expression.

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

The nationwide program made over $360 million in college scholarships available 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 (interview workshops, digital responsibility training, public speaking, personal accountability, community involvement, etc.) and enables all participants the chance to earn scholarship money for college. This year, there are 12 young ladies vying for the title of DYW of Shafter. The contestants are Santana DeLaRosa, Abigail Mejia, Victoria Munoz, Jane Saenz, Cathy Garcia, Destiny Arreola, Arly Galindo, Mia Faith Arredondo, Alleigh Hanner, Azuzena Ortiz, Maelyn Camacho, Shelbee Ramos, Lilian Jaime and Alicia Pompa.

Forty percent of the competition will have been completed before the big night arrives. The girls will have their transcripts graded in the Scholastic phase and will participate in a 10-minute interview by the judges, testing their speaking ability, as well as thinking on their feet and expressing themselves and telling the judges a bit about themselves.

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

DYW Kristen McGuire with her parents, Mark and Susan McGuire.

On the night of the competition, they will compete in the Self Expression phase, which will have each participant go through a dance routine, walking in an evening dress that displays their grace and style, and will be asked a question that will let the judges see their ability to speak in front of a crowd.

The Talent portion and Physical Fitness phase of the program will round out the competition.

At the end of the evening, there will be an award for each individual phase, along with naming of a fourth, third, second and first alternate. Then, it will be time for the announcement of this year's DYW of Shafter. She will win a $2,000 scholarship and a medal, and will participate in a variety of civic events such as ribbon cuttings, the 3rd of July Fireworks show, and other shows and events throughout the year. She also will represent Shafter at the Dore Theater on the campus of CSUB at the state competition in July.


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