From press and staff reports
Anna Grace Boydstun, Distinguished Young Woman of Winston County, will be one of 31 Mississippi high school seniors competing for more than $30,500 in college scholarships when the 2018 Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi Program gets under way Thursday, July 13, in Meridian.
The state program, which is held in Meridian, Mississippi, is now in its 61st year celebrating and spotlighting outstanding achievements of the state’s best and brightest high school girls.
The three nights of competition in Meridian’s Temple Theater concludes on Saturday, July 15. Curtain opens 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday. Reserved tickets for the 2018 Distinguished Young Woman Program are available for $60 for a three-night package. General admission tickets are available for $45 for a three-night package, or may be purchased for individual evenings: $15, Thursday; $15, Friday; and $20, Saturday. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, July 5, and may be obtained by calling 601-480-3438. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are welcomed.
“We are extremely excited about this year’s program,” said Sid Wilkinson, State Chairman of the Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi Program. “This program celebrates what is right with today’s young people and offers them cash scholarship opportunities to further their education.”
Anna Grace, the daughter of Tommy and Leah Boydstun of Louisville, attends Winston Academy. She will be playing ‘Polichinelle’ by Rachmaninoff on the piano. Anna Grace’s mother and elder sister also represented Winston County as DYW winner’s in the past.
“I’m very blessed and so excited to represent Winston County at the state level,” said Anna Grace.
She noted that the competition in at the county level had helped her bring out “her best self” just like the competition’s motto: “Be your best self”.
Whether she gained the county title or earns a top spot in Meridian, Anna Grace noted discovering and honing her abilities is what truly mattered.
“It’s not about winning. It’s about being your best self,” said Anna Grace.
She outlined the competition preparation on the county and state level helped her prepare for her future endeavors.
“The interview skills alone will help me prepare for a future career,” said Anna Grace.
Anna Grace plans to pursue a role in the medical field after attending the University of Mississippi.
“I hope to be pediatrician. I love children and I always pictured myself in the medical field,” said Anna Grace.
Locally, in addition to earning the top title Anna Grace also received the Be your Best Self award, Spirit award, Interview award, Physical fitness award, scholastic award, talent award and overall winner.
During the weeklong program in Meridian, contestants are evaluated on scholastic achievement, fitness, self-expression, talent and interview.
“I look forward to state competition on July 13-15 to compete with other girls in various counties,” said Anna Grace adding that one of the great benefits of the local competition was meeting and becoming friends with the other girls in the DYW program.
At all levels of the Distinguished Young Woman program, judging standards and basis of selection are the same. The emphasis is on excellence in scholastics, personality, character, physical well-being, creativity and relationships with her fellow peers.
Anna Grace noted that during the local competition she worked on all parts but had to focus on the push ups and physical fitness portion.
“During fitness, I worked a lot on my push ups and pushed myself to be prepared,” said Anna Grace.
Winston County Young ladies have been participating in DYW since 1961. This was the 58th program year.
If selected as Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi, Anna Grace will compete in the Distinguished Young Woman for 2018 finals in June of 2018, held in Mobile, Alabama. There she will compete for the opportunity to win a share of more than $100,000 in cash scholarship awards, including the $50,000 national title scholarship award. The Distinguished Young Woman Program (formerly America’s Junior Miss) was founded in 1958 and is the oldest and largest scholarship program for young women.
More than 6,500 high school girls participate each year. This program has offered more than $1.1 billion in college scholarship opportunities to young women across the country. The 61st annual America’s Junior Miss National Finals will be held in Mobile, Alabama, in June of 2018.