DYW: Distinguished Young Women take the stage tonight

COLUMBIA CITY — Tonight twelve young women from Whitley County will establish themselves as part of Distinguished Young Women history.The annual program will begin at 7 p.m. at Columbia City High School’s Newell Rice Auditorium and will feature individual talent acts as well as a group fitness routine.Pam Thompson, one of the event’s coordinators said, “This year’s participants of the 2013 program will provide a good variety of talent presentations for the audience and the judges. Each presentation of the participant’s can stand alone and is well performed. These participants have experience in show choirs, school musicals and events in front of an audience.”The group is diverse this year, with young women from all three high schools in the county. Thompson said, “Overall, this group is well rounded. They are organized and despite their very busy schedules of studying, participation in their school’s extra curricular activities, attending college classes and even working part time, they’ve gotten their forms done on time, refined their talent presentations and responded to our program requests.”The talent presentations include three vocal solos, one vocal self-accompanied on the piano, two instrumental numbers, one gymnastics/dance routine, one monologue, one high-energy dance and a depiction of a scene from “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”During the night’s festivities, the board of directors will present Frances Stuckey Brown with a Life Time Supporter Award. Brown has attended almost every program since its beginning.For Thompson, this marks her 39th year of volunteering with the organization.She said, “We’ve been through a couple of program name changes and a refinement of the self-expression category to better reflect today’s values. Basically, though the program and its method of evaluation has stayed the same and there’s no deviation from local, to state to the national program.”After such a long commitment to the program, Thompson said she feels the program is important because it is another venue to display their talents, academic achievements and leadership abilities. “The learning experience, however, is the best thing about this program,” said Thompson. “A participant can refine those skills she already has and learn a new self confidence at a critical time in her life when she begins interviewing for awards and college scholarships.”Michaela Thomas, the first Distinguished Young Woman, said, “This is a program for high school senior girls who want to learn more not only about themselves, but others. The program challenges every participant and she comes out better on the other side for have taken advantage of the opportunity.”Awards will be handed out at the end of night. Category awards include panel interview, scholastics, talent, fitness, self expression and the Spirit Award. Admission for the program is $10 for adults and $5 for students grades Kindergarten through 12th grade.