8/2/2013 12:37:00 PM Guzman competing in Pullman for state DYW title
Melissa Guzman, Othello’s DYW candidate, is competing for the state title in Pullman. File photo.
Othello teenager Melissa Guzman is in Pullman now and will compete with 20 seniors from across the state for the title of Washington's Distinguised Young Woman. She and the other girls will vie for more than $10,000 in scholarships at the 2013-14 Distinguished Young Women of Washington scholarship program. The event, formerly called Washington's Junior Miss Program, is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at Washington State University's Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. The new titleholder will advance to the national level at the 57th Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile in June 2014, where she will join with 49 other state representatives in competing for cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America. The newly named national DYW winner for 2013-14, Nicole Renard, of Kennewick, will join Washington's and America's Junior Miss winners Linda Felber, for 1964 (from Colfax), and Lenne Jo Hallgren Best, for 1976 (from Clarkston), on stage Saturday as emcees for the evening's competition. While representing the state in Mobile in June, Renard won awards in the Fitness and Talent judging categories, as well as the national title for a total of $32,000 in scholarships. Washington's new program winner will receive a $4,000 scholarship while the first runner-up will earn a $1,500 scholarship. The second runner-up will receive a $1,000 college scholarship. A $300 Spirit Award, two preliminary $250 scholastic scholarships and a $750 overall award for scholastic achievement also will be awarded. In addition, two $250 preliminary awards will be announced in four other judging categories: judges' interview, talent, fitness and self-expression. Judging the program will be Julie Stonecifer-Yokel (Washington's Junior Miss in 1968), a Washington educator and now owner of a jewelry design business; George Sharp, director of the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau; Emily Schell Jones, a fundraiser and consultant with Changing Our World; Ed Neunherz, a business community leader and past director of the Spokane Lilac Festival; and Debbie Fucile, longtime Junior Miss volunteer leader and currently volunteer coordinator for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane. Shirley Sears, of Pullman, is choreographer. The participants will be evaluated by a panel of judges in the following categories: Scholastics (20 percent), Interview (25 percent), Fitness (15 percent), Self-Expression (15 percent) and Talent (25 percent). The participant selected as the Distinguished Young Woman will advance to the national level at the 57th Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile in June 2014, where she will join with 49 other state representatives in competing for cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America. The other girls participating in the 2014 program include Cady Hunt, Almira-Coulee-Hartline (ACH); Abby Webb, Asotin; Kylie Norton, Buckley; Naomi Miller, Chewelah; Emily Berreth, Clarkston; Katie Largent, Colfax; Heather Young, Colton-Uniontown; Madison Malet, Davenport; Caralyn Cutlip, Ellensburg; Samantha Moss, Kettle Falls; Madeline Harris, Leavenworth; Maya Wahl, Lind; Ruby Coulson, Mattawa; Katelyn Kehler, Moses Lake; Jordan Sumpter, Newman Lake; Elizabeth Eakin, Oakesdale; Michaela Schad, Pullman; Dalyn Killian, Ritzville; and Morgan Small, Royal City. Advance tickets are available through TicketsWest, 1-800-325-SEAT, or at TicketsWest.com. Tickets also will be available at the door. All tickets for the program are $20. About Distinguished Young Women Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. During its 56 years of operation, the program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 730,000 young women. Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided more than $108 million in cash and college scholarship opportunities to program participants at the local, state and national levels.