It’s back! The city of Kokomo, for the second year in a row, will host the Indiana Distinguished Young Women of America Scholarship Program, formerly known as Indiana’s Junior Miss. This unique scholarship program, the oldest organization of its kind in the United States, is available to any senior high school girl who plans to pursue a college education.
Founded in 1958 in Mobile, AL, the nonprofit program’s goal is to honor young women who excel and encourage them to obtain a college education and assume roles of leadership in their communities and professions. During the past 54 years, DYW has awarded cash scholarships totaling more than $93 million to girls across the nation.
The City of Firsts, with its wealth of businesses, eateries, college opportunities, hotels, and places of interest, along with the support of Mayor Goodnight and the city, will support nineteen high school senior girls from across the state as they rehearse and ultimately compete in Havens Auditorium at Indiana University Kokomo from February 28 until March 1 for the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana 2013. Throughout the week, these Distinguished Young Women will visit local schools and businesses, speak with various community groups, and stay with host home families. Their parents, extended families, friends, and supporters will all merge into the city throughout the week, further supporting Kokomo businesses and places of interest.
Each contestant will be vying for the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana 2013 and a share of $22,000 in cash scholarship awards and college-granted scholarships totaling $190,000. The overall winner will receive a $7,000 scholarship award and will travel with all expenses paid to Mobile, AL, in June to take part in the 56th annual Distinguished Young Women of America Finals, where she will compete for the title of Distinguished Young Woman of 2013 and a share of more than $140,000 in cash scholarships. The categories in which the contestants will be evaluated are scholastics (20%), interview (25%), talent (20%), fitness (15%), and self-expression (15%).
The nineteen young women who will be competing in Kokomo are: Kayla Springer (Avon), Haley Foster (Bremen), Brittani Howell (Clinton County), Madison McArt (Elkhart), Ashley Zeiner (Hamilton County), McKinzie Horoho (Howard County), Jamah Wilkerson (Jackson County), Tessa Makximenko (Lawrence County), Rebecca Greaney (Lowell), Emily Caldwell (Maconaquah), Sally Scheaffer (Marion), Jean Donaldson (North Miami), Alexandra Hochstetler (Middlebury), Mallory Tolin (Montgomery County), Stacie Kammerling (Plainfield), Rachel Stewart (Portage), Lauren DeSutter (Tri-West), Breanna Lemler (Triton), Corinne Kauffman (Whitley County).
The competition will take place in three phases, with the first preliminary beginning at 7:00 PM on Thursday, Feb. 28, the second preliminary beginning at 7:00 PM on Friday, March 1, and the finals at 7:00 PM on Saturday, March 2. Tickets are available and can be purchased each evening at the door. Tickets for the preliminary competitions are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Tickets for the final competition are $15 per person. Please call Dianna Sharp at (765) 437-0286 for more information.
Platinum level sponsors are Mayor Greg Goodnight, Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau, PNC Bank, Center Township of Howard County, and Hampton Inn and Suites. Gold level sponsors are Nipsco, Ivy Tech, Regions Insurance and Bank, and Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union. Silver sponsors are St. Joseph Hospital, Global Testing Service, BCR CPA, American Stationery, Duke Energy, and Stephens Machine Inc.
For more information about Distinguished Young Women of America, please visit www.distinguishedyw.org.