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Distinguished Young Women of Cerritos-Artesia Hold Annual Scholarship Award Event

AWARDS: from (l-r) Samantha Sugino, DYW Central; Amy Ganatra, DYW East; Aila Jahromi, DYW West; Alena Nielsen, Fitness Award; Diya Bharadwaj, DYW Alternate and Talent Award; Ellie Ta, Interview and Scholastic Awards; Lielta Tibebe, Spirit of DYW Award.

March 27, 2023

Distinguished Young Women of Cerritos-Artesia held their 2024 program (the year participants graduate from High School) on Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26, 2023.  DYW is a scholarship program that promotes education and excellence in all areas of life by encouraging the participants to “Be Their Best Selves”. Since 1975, this program has been promoted in the Cerritos-Artesia area, originally called Junior Miss. Throughout the program, all girls are encouraged to develop self – confidence, interview effectively, speak in public, perform on stage, and build interpersonal relationships.

This program strives to inspire high school juniors to develop to their full and individual potential.  The program offers a fun and transformational experience over a three week period of time, which culminates in this celebratory showcase of participants’ accomplishments. Practices were held at the First Christian Reformed Church in Artesia. This year our official program took place at the Cerritos College Student Center on Sunday, March 26. With interviews, held on Saturday, March 25 at the Chugh Law and Accounting Firm in Cerritos.

Standards and ideals of evaluating participants are consistent across local, state and national levels characterized by scholastic achievement, community involvement, creativity, and quest for excellence in every facet of life. Girls are judged in the following areas: Scholastics, 25%; Interview, 25%; Talent, 20%; Fitness, 15%; and Self Expression, 15%.

 $8000 in scholarships were awarded in ten categories, and four overall awards.

The award winners were as follows: 

Amy Ganatra (Whitney High School) – DYW Winner East ($1500),  Aila Jahromi (Whitney High School) – DYW Winner West ($1500), Samantha Sugino (Cerritos High School) – DYW Central ($1500),  Diya Bharadwaj (Whitney High School) –  DYW Alternate ($1000),  Lielta Tibebe (Cerritos High School) – Spirit of DYW ($300),  Ellie Ta (Whitney High School) – Interview ($600), Ellie Ta (Whitney High School) – Scholastics ($600),  Diya Bharadwaj (Whitney High School) – Talent ($400),  Alena Nielsen (Cerritos High School) – Fitness ($300), and Amy Ganatra (Whitney High School)  – Self-Expression ($300). 

Our showcase awards were handed out by many dignitaries including: Representative for Congresswoman Michelle Steel, Daisy Tong ;  Past Mayor of the City of Artesia, Melissa Ramoso; Mayor of Artesia, Monica Manalo; Past Mayor of Cerritos,  Diana Needham; Cerritos College Board of Trustees, Shin Lui; Vice President ABC School District Board of Education, Mrs. Sophia Tse; Optimist Representative, George Ray; president of Artesia-Cerritos Soroptimists, Norma Williamson; DYW State Chairwoman, Susan Finch; representative from Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud, and Romo attorneys, Rebecca Delatorre.

Emcee for the Sunday program was Gregg Nighswonger, who has worked professionally in the broadcast field as a radio announcer since 1968. Judges for this program included: Brittany Lundeen, Cerritos College Counselor; Ming Chen, Retired Software Engineer; Melanie Dumalag, DYW Alum, Kaiser Healthcare Analyst; Nikita Govind, DYW Alum, Kinesiologist and Doctoral Candidate; Brittany Khan, retired Accountant; Marisol Morales, Music Educator.

Sponsors of the program include: County Supervisor, Janice Hahn; Chugh, LLP; MSI Corporation; AALRR Attorneys; Patrick Stacker, Lawyer; Dr. David DeKriek, Au.D.; Dr. Terrisa Ha, M.D.; Carol Chen, Diana Needham and Grace Hu, past mayors of Cerritos, Cerritos Optimists, Cerritos-Artesia Soroptimists and Woman’s Club of Artesia-Cerritos, Cerritos College and the city of Cerritos, Fashion by Rohini, Gloria and Sherman Kappe, George Ray, Sophia Tse, Norma Williamson, Lee and Mary Ann Tipton, Gene and Rhonda Burd Realty, Print Media Designs.

In addition, Amazon Fresh and Cerritos BJ’s Restaurant and Brew House generously donated food  for the participants and the judges’ panel.

Famous Distinguished Young Women Alumnae include Diane Sawyer, Deborah Norville, Kim Basinger, Debra Messing, Kathie Lee Gifford.

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. Our mission is to empower young women by providing over $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, connecting with a nationwide network of women, developing their self-confidence, and participating in our Life Skills Workshops that prepare them for success after high school. National sponsors include Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, Mobile County, City of Mobile, Alabama Power Foundation, Master Boat Builders, Shoe Station and the Barkin Family, Gant Travel Management, the Coffeen Family, Regions Financial Corporation, Jostens and Alabama Media Group. The 66th National Finals will take place in Mobile, Alabama on June 22, 23, and 24, 2023. For more information about Distinguished Young Women, visit www.DistinguishedYW.org

For more information about Distinguished Young Women, contact Tara Principe, National Headquarters Marketing and Communications Director, at 251-438-3621 or [email protected]