Twenty rising high school seniors are in Cleveland preparing for this weekend’s 2013 Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee program.
The preliminaries will be held on Friday at the Bradley Central High School Fine Arts Center followed by Saturday’s finale. The program will start at 7pm on both evenings. Tickets are $55 each for the two nights and $30 apiece for a single performance. The 2011 Distinguished Young Woman of America Katye Brock of Tullahoma will be the emcee and her recently named national successor Christina Maxwell of Asheville, N.C., will be a special guest on Friday.
The Tennessee winner will receive the silver medallion from 2012 recipient Lexee Hill of Dayton plus a $5,000 scholarship. Miss Hill, an incoming freshman at The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, became the first Rhea County representative to win the state program in its 53 year history a year ago.
The new titleholder will be the state representative for the national platform of “Be Your Best Self” which encourages students to excel both in the classroom and in their communities.
The participants are staying with host families in the Cleveland area and have attended several local functions when they weren’t in rehearsals.
The young women are judged in five categories: Interview (25%), Talent (25%), Scholastics (20%), Fitness (15%) and Self-Expression (15%).
Nine of the participants are from the Chattanooga area – Neely Wood (Signal Mountain), Taylor McMahan (McMinn County), Ally Dunlay (Hamilton County), Ashley Heald (Cleveland), Yee Won Liew (Rhea County), Katie Ward (Chattanooga), Alexa Disterdick (Soddy-Daisy), Brianna Sandoval (East Hamilton) and Rhiannon Gilbert (Marion County).
The 2008 state winner Chandler Lawson recently became the first “has-been” which is the nickname given to program alumni, to be named Miss Tennessee. Hannah Disterdick, the 2007 recipient and the sister of Alexa Disterdick, was a top 12 finalist.
The 2013 participants in order of appearance, school and talent:
· Neely Marie Wood (Signal Mountain), Signal Mountain High School, Alto Saxophone, “In The Mood”
· Autumn Nicole Berry (Knox County), Gibbs High School, Baton Twirling, “Halo/Walking on Sunshine”
· Mollie Anna Cline (Sumner County), Hendersonville High School, Lyrical Dance, “Set Fire to the Rain”
· Kurtisha Gayle Norris (Loudon County), Lenoir City High School, Clogging, “Bad”
· Nicola Ann Matty (Tullahoma), Tullahoma High School, Piano, “100 Years”
· Catherine Joy Davis (Knoxville), Karns High School, Vocal, “Somewhere”
· Angelica Fultz (Williamson County), Centennial High School, Vocal, “There You’ll Be”
· Taylor Simone McMahan (McMinn County), McMinn County High School, Dramatic Presentation, “Don’t You Forget”
· Alexandra Hope Dunlay (Hamilton County), Notre Dame High School, Dance/Gymnastics Routine, Musical Mix
· Ashley Lauren Heald (Cleveland), Home schooled, Classical Ballet, “Habanera”
· Yee Won Liew (Rhea County), Rhea County High School, Contemporary Ballet, “Take A Chance”
· Katherine Elizabeth Ward (Chattanooga), Notre Dame High School, Vocal, “Astonishing”
· Kaitlyn Elizabeth Bunn (Cumberland Valley), Tullahoma High School, Saxophone, “Harlem Nocturne”
· Alexandra Claire Disterdick (Soddy-Daisy), Soddy-Daisy High School, Jazz Dance/Urban Drums, “Don’t Rain On My Parade”
· Jessi Alyssa Fuller (Sevier County), Seymour High School, Baton Twirling, “Walking On Sunshine”
· Brianna Catherine Sandoval (East Hamilton), East Hamilton High School, Dance, “Feeling Good”
· Gabriella Elizabeth Broussard (Madison County), Home Life Academy, Vocal, “Arms”
· Kristen Elizabeth Clark (Cocke County), Cocke County High School, Classical Pointe Ballet, Gamzatti Variation from “La Bayadere”
· Carey Rhiannon Gilbert (Marion County), Whitwell High School, Vocal, “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly”
· Kara Doran Brummitt (Loudon), Loudon High School, Lyrical Dance, “I Had A Dream”