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Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Winners Announced At Whitney High

By Larry Caballero

Several hundred family members and friends attended the 2016 Cerritos-Artesia Distinguished Young Women (DYW) Program Mar. 22 at the Whitney High Multimedia Center where 22 high school juniors from Cerritos, Gahr and Whitney High Schools participated for scholarships in five categories that included Talent, Self-Expression, Scholastics, Fitness and Interview.

Co-Master of Ceremonies was 2013 DYW National Winner Nicole Renard who shared her experiences and memories of winning the title and said that meeting so many young and gifted women from throughout California has definitely inspired her “to grow as a person and to reach for the stars.”

For the second time since the inception of the program, two young women were chosen to represent Cerritos-Artesia in the state competition later this year.

Whitney High School junior Katherine Ku was awarded $3400 in scholarships for winning in three categories: Talent, Scholastics and DYW Cerritos-Artesia 2016-WEST.

Ku won the Talent category by playing the cello to “Suite No. 1 Prelude” by Bach.

Gahr High School junior Joelle Li was awarded $1800 for winning the DYW Cerritos-Artesia 2016-EAST title.  Li performed “Tiger’s Heart” by Bei Bei He.

Whitney High junior Alessandra Rivera won $1300 as the Cerritos-Artesia DYW Alternate who will represent one of the winners later this year in Bakersfield if one of them is unable to attend.

Cerritos High School junior Madyson Costa won $400 for the Spirit of Distinguished Young Women.  To win this award, her fellow participants chose her as the one who was the most supportive of the true meaning of the program and was always eager to assist the other young ladies during rehearsals.

Other Cerritos High winners included Interview Category Winner Sophia Anigbo who won $900, Self-Expression Category Winner Lauren Oh who won $500, and Fitness Category Winner Tyler Pavon who also won $500.

Judges’ scores were tabulated: Scholastics (20%), Interview (25%), Fitness (15%), Talent (25%), and Self-Expression (15%).

The City of Cerritos, MS International, Inc., Ziba Beauty, Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos, Soroptimist International of Artesia-Cerritos, Eva Ku, Cerritos Presbyterian Church, ABC Unified School District,  and Marilyn and Dennis McGorman sponsored the DYW Program this year.

Chair Jenny Ma thanked all of the supporters and said, “The donations go directly to the scholarships awarded to our fine young women. You are helping to impact lives!”

The Cerritos Presbyterian Church was also recognized for assisting with the location for rehearsals.

DYW encourages each participant to complete her college education, serve her community, and become a leader, thereby setting a good example for other young people. DYW promotes the Be Your Best Self program to encourage all young people to succeed in life. The principles behind the Be Your Best Self program are: eat the right foods; stay fit; get a good education; live by moral principles; serve your community; set goals; and, work to reach these goals.

Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Alabama, 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 level. Previously known as America’s Junior Miss, the program announced its new name in June 2010.

The mission of Distinguished Young Women is to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent. National sponsors include the City of Mobile, Mobile County, Wintzell’s Oyster House, Encore Rehabilitation, SPANX, Mobile Gas: A Sempra Company, Regions Bank, Alabama Power Foundation, and Master Boat Builders.