National scholarship program to hold local county competition

Published 1:27 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

The inaugural Distinguished Young Women program for Lafayette County presented by Trustmark, debuts on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 3 PM at the Mary Anne Mobley/Gary E. Collins Studio Theatre at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Everyone is invited to attend this free event.

Distinguished Young Women is a national scholarship program that inspires high school girls in their junior year 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.

After serving as the reigning 2022 Lafayette County DYW, Ellie Tucker will give up her title to the new winner. Ellie is a senior at Oxford High School and the daughter of Leigh and Tom Tucker.

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“We are excited to offer this incredible scholarship opportunity for high school juniors in Lafayette County”, stated Suzanne Helveston, chairman of the DYW Lafayette County Program.

Over $1400 in scholarships will be awarded. The winner will receive a $1000 scholarship, photography package from Legacy Photography, membership to Core Oxford, and a gift certificate from Deals Auto Repair.  The first alternate will be awarded a $250 cash scholarship, and a gift certificate to Deals Auto Repair.

In addition, winners of both Interview and Scholastic categories will each receive $100 in cash scholarships. These scholarships would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, including our Title sponsor: Trustmark; Gold sponsors: Charter Road Hospitality, Mary Anne Mobley /Gary E. Studio Theatre, and Junior Auxiliary of Oxford; Silver sponsors: Core of Oxford, FNB Oxford, and Jinsei Sushi; and Friends sponsors, Deals Auto Repair, Stacy Harrison REALTOR, Michele McKay, Rodan + Fields, Jimmy & Mindy Maxwell, Oxford Printing Company, Tucker, Selden & Tucker, Steve and Rosie Vassallo and University Sporting Goods

Participants are evaluated in the following categories:

Scholastics (25%), Interview (25%), Talent (20%), Fitness (15%), and Self-Expression (15%), which is a question answered on stage. The winner will represent Lafayette county in the state program in Meridian, July 14-16, 2022.  In addition, candidates participate in hands-on workshops designed to strengthen their skills in interviewing, public speaking, and building self-confidence.

These skills not only prepare the participants for our program, but also for the world after high school and college, while providing a lifelong network of women.

Mary Margaret Hyer, a veteran of the Distinguished Young Women Program, will serve as our Mistress of Ceremonies.  She is a Cum Laude Graduate of her beloved alma mater, the University of Mississippi, of which she is a third-generation graduate.

 Hyer credits much of her life’s success to the principles and skills she acquired throughout her participation in the Distinguished Young Women program.

Her mother, Margaret McCollum Hyer, competed in Herndon’s Junior Miss program in 1987 in her home state of Virginia and instilled in Hyer, from a young age, an admiration for the program and the young women who participated. After deciding to participate in the program herself, Hyer was named Lamar County’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2014, receiving the Overall Scholastics award at her local competition.

At the state competition, she was named Third Alternate to Mississippi’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2014 and received the Overall Talent award and a Preliminary Scholastic Award as a Top 5 Academic participant at the state competition.

The scholarships she was awarded throughout her involvement with DYW allowed Mary Margaret to graduate from the University of Mississippi debt-free, and she still uses the skills she learned from the program, such as interviewing, public speaking, community involvement, commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and scholastic success, in the present day.

Entertainment will be provided by the Hinge Dance company under the direction of Lydia Foster. Admission is free of charge.

For additional information about the program please go to the website or contact Suzanne Helveston