Eighteen young women representing Rowan County took to the stage at Morehead State University’s Button Auditorium to showcase their poise, talents, and fitness as they vied for the title of 2019 Distinguished Young Woman of Rowan County and Bath County. At the end of the evening, Katie Bonney, daughter of Steve and Tammy Collins Bonney, was awarded the title of Rowan County’s 2019 Distinguished Young Woman. Martina Chapman, daughter of Mark and Sherrie Chapman, was named Bath County’s 2019 Distinguished Young Woman.
Representing Rowan County were, in alphabetical order: Carmen Alderman, L’Shae Black, Katie Bonney, Abby Caudill, Madison Dennis, Maddie Donovan, Kinsey Eisenhour, Parker Fouch, Zayda Greene, Savannah Hamilton, Emily Hammonds, Alivia Litton, Lexi Morris, Julianna Post, Kennealy Roberts, and Jordyn Williams. Representing Bath County were Martina Chapman and Skyler Toy.
The emcees for this year’s DYW scholarship program were Gaige Webb and Jon Duncan O’Connell. Jordan Whittaker provided amusing entertainment throughout the program. Tommy Gabbard aided in the production of the program. The RCSHS Men’s Choir provided entertainment after the intermission.
The runners-up for the Rowan County DYW scholarship program were Zayda Greene, daughter of David and Brandy Breeze, (1st runner-up), Kinsey Eisenhour, daughter of David and Lynn Eisenhour, (2nd runner-up), Kennealy Roberts, daughter of Jamie and Angela Roberts, (3rd runner-up), and Savannah Hamilton, daughter of Richard and Stephanie Hamlton, (4th runner-up.)
The Distinguished Young Women program, which began nationally in 1958 as Junior Miss, is the largest scholarship program for young women who are seniors in high school. Just as the national program was sponsored by the Jaycees, Rowan County’s program was also originally sponsored by the Jaycees. The Morehead Women’s Club took over sponsorship of the competition in 1986.
The contestants taking part in the Distinguished Young Woman scholarship program are scored in five separate areas. These areas are Interview (25%), Scholastics (25%), Talent (20%), Fitness (15%) and Self-Expression (15%). The only on-stage categories are Talent, Self-Expression and Fitness.
The Scholastics and Interview portions of the program took place earlier in the day, with the contestants meeting with judges at the Rowan County Board of Education building. Kennealy Roberts and Katie Bonney were named as the winners of the Scholastics portion while Zayne Greene, Katie Bonney and Julianna Post, daughter of Jeffrey and Christina Post, won the Interview portion.
Contestants were also required to demonstrate their physical fitness with a variety of exercise components put to music. Not only do the contestants perform these exercise components as a group, they are also required to show their individual fitness levels. Winners of the Fitness portion were Park Fouch, daughter of Billy and Kelly Fouch, and L’Shae Black, daughter of Shannon and Crystal Black.
Talent ranged from musical selections and monologues to hula hoop routines and clogging. The winners of the Talent portion of the program were Julianna Post and Jordyn Wlliams, daughter of Rick and Lucy Williams.
The Self-Expression category required contestants to answer an impromptu question. The winners of the Self-Expression portion were Katie Bonney and Savannah Hamilton.
Before announcing the name of the Distinguished Young Woman winners and runners-up, preliminary award winners were announced. The Barbara Fossett Leadership Award, which was created in memory of a longtime Junior Miss/ Distinguished Young Woman sponsor, was presented to Alivia Litton, daughter of Lisa Black Litton and the late Kevin Litton. The winner of the Savannah Jo Kissick “Be Your Best Self” Memorial Scholarship Award was Madison Dennis, daughter of Craig and Amanda Dennis. L’Shae Black was the recipient of the Lucy Conn Moore Spirit Scholarship.
“The young ladies that take part in this program, no matter how they finish, are all winners,” said Lucy Moore. “What they take away from their participation in the Distinguished Young Women program – poise, self-confidence, and pride in academic excellence – can help them as they prepare for their future and move into their careers.”
Rowan County’s 2019 Distinguished Young Woman Katie Bonney is now eligible to move on to compete at the state level in Kentucky’s 2019 Distinguished Young Woman program to be held in January 2019.