From staff and press reports
The Distinguished Young Women of Winston Scholarship Program will be holding the 59th annual program at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Louisville High School.
Six contestants from around Winston County will compete for thousands of dollars in college scholarships and the chance to represent the county at local events and at the state contest and possibly at the national finals in Mobile, Ala. The DYW scholarship program is based on academic scholastics, leadership, physical fitness and talent.
At the program, contestants will perform an opening number and compete in a performing arts talent routine, a physical fitness routine and self expression. Contestants are also evaluated in based on academic scholastics and interview.
“This is an amazing group of smart and talented young women and we are excited to have them showcase their talents at this year’s scholarship program,” said Apryl Bane. “We invite the public to come and support these accomplished young women.”
Competing this year are:
Contestant No.1: Elizabeth Ornelas who attends Winston Academy. She is the daughter of Daniel and Cristina Ornelas. She will sing Magic by Selena Gomez for her talent.
Contestant No. 2: Madeline Skylar Adams attends Louisville High School. She is the granddaughter of Judy White. She will sing “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle.
Contestant No. 3: Samantha Ray Wilson attends Louisville High School. She is the daughter of Deborah Wilson and the late Toby Wilson. She will perform “Titanium” by David Guetta ft. Sia while using a cup for instrumental background.
Contestant No. 4: Laura Leigh Verry is the daughter of Tracey Lynn Verry and Lee Wayne Verry. She will perform Monologue from Neil Simmons play “Star Spangled Girl”.
Contestant No. 5: Kenley Madison McMullan attends Nanih Waiya Attendance Center. She is the daughter of Ken and Leigh McMullan. She will perform Malagueña on the piano.
Contestant No. 6: Miriah Ford attends Louisville High School. She is the daughter of Miranda and Stanley Ford. She will sing “I Believe” as her talent.
In addition to the contestants, part of the entertainment for the evening will Tanner Fant of Starkville.
Fant is the daughter of Robin and Dana Fant. She has been dancing since the age of three at Academy of Competitive and Performing Arts and has received many awards including Outstanding Senior Dancer 2013, Miss Dance 2014, and Dancer of the Year 2014. She also choreographs for ACPA’s competition company, but her pride and joy is teaching the “Let’s All Dance” class at ACPA, a program she created that gives children with special needs the opportunity to dance. Tanner is a senior at Starkville Academy where she is a member of the SA Varsity cheer squad, National Honor Society, Student Council, Yearbook Staff, and Anchor Club. She is also a member of Starkville’s Mayor’s Youth Council and Starkville’s Crown Club.
In addition to winning Mississippi’s Distinguished Young Woman, Tanner also won a fitness preliminary award, the overall self-expression award, and the overall talent award. Tanner will be performing her award-winning Distinguished Young Woman talent routine, “Titanium” at the Feb. 28 program.
Leading up to the event, the contestants have enjoyed several social events such as the DYW contestants and their mothers were treated to a brunch at Lake Tiak-O’Khata, hosted by Margaret and Bailey Taylor.