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16 vie for Distinguished Young Woman title

The first of two articles featuring this year's Distinguished Young Woman of Shafter participants. The other half will be presented in next week's paper.

The annual Distinguished Young Woman of Shafter scholarship program is on tap for Friday March 22, at the Fred Starrh Performing Arts Center at Shafter High School.

Each girl is in her junior year at Shafter High and will be competing for over $5,000 in scholarship money.

There are 16 participants in this year's competition. with half profiled here.

Lauren Givens, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Shafter, is the daughter of Chad and Vanessa Givens. Lauren loves to play volleyball and the piano. Givens said that she will be pursuing a career as an athletic trainer. "I have always watched this program from when I was a little girl. It has been a dream of mine to one day compete in it."

Marisol Bazan Gutierrez is the daughter of Jesus and Eloisa Amador and is being sponsored by Basham and Lara Funeral Care. Gutierrez said that she enjoys watercolor painting in her spare time. She has plans to become a dental hygienist after high school. "This has been a great experience, getting to know and become friends with all of the girls," Marisol said,

Jayna Pierucci is sponsored by Gail Pierucci and is the daughter of Jerald and Jodie Pierucci. She said that she plans to become an English teacher as a career. Jayna enjoys playing tennis and acting onstage in the theater.

Naomi Prado is the daughter of Everado and Elma Rodriguez. Naomi is sponsored by Phat Boys Barber Shop. Prado loves to read and write poetry. She said that she wants to go to college and major in psychology.

Camryn Eubanks loves to paint, baking and drawing. Camryn is the daughter of Nick and Roys Eubanks, and is being sponsored by Mashburn Transportation Services. She plans on being a physical therapist after graduation.

Adriana Moreno-Bravo is the daughter of Mario and Rosa Moreno. Adriana enjoys baking, running and playing the accordion. She plans on studying to be a radiologist.

Katie Pantoja is the daughter of Juan Pantoja and Olga Cervantes. Pantoja is being sponsored by California Water Service Co. She enjoys playing soccer in her spare time. She wants to go to college and study architecture.

Emily Bejarano is the daughter of Sandra Alvarez and Tomas Bejarano and is sponsored by Richland Chevrolet. Bejarano loves reading and baking. She plans on going to college to become a kindergarten teacher.

The Shafter DYW program is one of the oldest in the state and has helped many girls achieve their goals and dreams.

For over 40 years, the Distinguished Young Women Program (formerly Junior Miss) has impacted the lives of high school girls in Shafter by providing them with a once in a lifetime experience. The 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 – 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 Distinguished Young Women program for another opportunity to earn scholarship money and add to her high school experience.


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