Tucker represents Lafayette in state DYW contest

Published 4:35 pm Friday, July 23, 2021

Oxford High School senior Ellie Tucker, daughter of Tom and Leigh Tucker, is competing in the Distinguished Young Women State Competition in Meridian. The event began Thursday and concludes Saturday.

Distinguished Young Women is the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school girls. Last year, more than $1 billion in cash tuition and college-granted scholarships were available nationally.

“It’s been really good,” said Tucker, who represents Lafayette County. “I’m having a lot of fun here.”

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Truly a distinguished young woman already, Tucker has plenty of leadership experience as Student Body secretary, Student Ambassador, Peer Health Educator and member of the Oxford-Lafayette Junior Leadership program just to name a few.

In addition, Tucker stays busy with extracurricular activities which include Diamond Girl for OHS Baseball team, newspaper staff member for the Charger, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Junior Auxiliary Crown Club, the Key Club and Students for Alzheimer’s.

Tucker has taken her leadership experience and channeled it into the competition.

“Because I’m so involved in my community, I love giving back to my school and my peers and stay active and involved when I can,” she said. “This has definitely been a new challenge for me, but what’s so great about the program is that you’re surrounded by all these different girls who are just amazing.”

Since its creation in 1958, over 700,000 young ladies have participated in competitions spanning the United States.

“It’s definitely been a challenge to get here but I’m getting to use my confidence on stage and work on being my best self,” Tucker said.

Ellie Tucker’s mother Leigh Tucker is happy that the competition is getting her daughter out of her comfort zone and is presenting a challenge.

“I don’t know if she ever would’ve been pushed to do things like this before,” said her mother. “I’ve loved watching her go through all the motions with it like answering interview questions and going through fitness training. She really had to hustle working with a voice coach for this level of competition.”

Participants will compete in the following categories: Interview (25%), Scholastics (25%), Talent (20%), Fitness (15%), and Self-Expression (15%). Each state hosts a state program in which the chosen representative advances to the national program, held in the program’s birthplace of Mobile, Alabama.

The young women competing are separated into two groups: Diamonds and Sapphires. Tucker is a part of the Sapphires and competed in the Fitness and Self-Expression sections on Thursday.

On Friday, Tucker and the rest of her group will participate in the talent portion and she will sing 85 seconds of one of her favorite songs, “Over the Rainbow.”

“I grew up watching the original Wizard of Oz and so that song holds a special place in my heart,” Tucker said. “It’s a really beautiful song and I think it captures my range. I’ve been singing since I was a little girl and I love to sing in front of an audience, so I’m really looking forward to my performance.”

Tucker feels excited about the rest of the competition and is optimistic about what lays ahead of her.

“I’m going to walk away with an amazing, new group of friends and also so much gained confidence from (competing) to the best of my ability and giving everything that I’ve got,” she said.

Distinguished Young Women, formerly known as America’s Junior Miss, is a national scholarship program that inspires high school girls to develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments. Distinguished Young Women strives to give young women the opportunity to further their education and prepare for a successful future.

Notes of encouragement can be sent via email to 21ellietucker@msjrmiss.com.