The Shafter Distinguished Young Woman program is getting ready to name a new title holder to represent the city. The program will take place on Friday, March 24, at the Fred Starrh Performing Arts Center at Shafter High School, beginning at 7 p.m.
There are nine participants this year, each sponsored by local businesses.
Here are the participants:
Alyssa Calvillo is the daughter of Candy Gonzalez and is being sponsored by the Shafter Lions Club. She will be performing a dance routine at the program.
Italyvy Morocho, sponsored by Sun Country Flowers, is the daughter of Ofelia Moreno. She will be performing a monologue for the talent phase of the competition.
Mia Ruiz is the daughter of Mark and Alma Ruiz. Ruiz is being sponsored by Apple Market and will be performing a Color Guard routine.
Ariana Escalera is the daughter of Abraham and Analis Escalera and is being sponsored by Puiser Construction. She will be performing a monologue.
Emily McGuire, sponsored by Richland Chevrolet, is the daughter of Mark and Susan McGuire. She will be performing a tap dance routine.
Desiree Arreola is the daughter of Ely and Frankie Arreola. She is being sponsored by the Shafter Commanders and will be performing a monologue.
Melissa Valenzuela is the daughter of Leobardo and Ceyla Valenzuela. She is sponsored by the Shafter Kiwanis Club and will be playing the flute.
Britney Hill, the daughter of John and Jennifer Hill and Stephanie Vasquez, is being sponsored by the Shafter Rotary Club and will be performing a color guard routine.
Natalie Leyva is the daughter of Ana and Juan Leyva. She is being sponsored by Ken Handel Farms and will be playing the piano.
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.Then there is the creative performance portion. Each competitor is given a chance to impress the judges with a talent performance of their own choosing.
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 program started in Shafter in the mid-1970s and this year marks its 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 and community involvement.