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Distinguished Young Woman contest returns in March

Shafter's Distinguished Young Woman organization will be holding its annual scholarship program in March, giving a Shafter High School junior the chance to represent Shafter in the state program set for June in Bakersfield.

Last year's winner, Faith Bazaldua,will be handing her title to a new participant, ending a year filled of community events and civic duties.

The contestants for this year are Britney Hill, Melissa Valenzuela, Mia Ruiz, Emily McGuire, Ariana Escalera, Desiree Arreola, Alyssa Calvillo, Italyvy Morocho and Natalie Leyva.

The girls will compete in several areas, including talent, personal expression, scholastic, interview and physical fitness.

For over 40 years, the DYW program has impacted the lives of high school girls in Shafter.

Toni Frantz, of the Shafter DYW, said, "The Distinguished Young Woman program is a unique opportunity combining college and career readiness, life skills training, mentoring, friendships, fun and the chance to earn college scholarships."

Participants meet regularly for a few months to connect, learn new skills and work hard. This is all in preparation for a live program in front of their family, friends and neighbors. At the conclusion of the program, awards are given, scholarship money is awarded and one girl is chosen to represent Shafter as the DYW.

She will not only be involved in the community throughout the year, she will participate in the California DYW program for an opportunity to earn more scholarships and add to her high school experience.

The event will take place on March 24, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at


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