MOUNT VERNON — Those attending the Friday and Saturday evening’s Distinguished Young Women of Ohio programs will be treated to a variety of talent, fitness routines, interviews and entertaining group presentations.
In preparation for such a production, a lot of preliminary work takes place in making the show a success. The 30 participants in this year’s scholarship program have been putting in many hours of practice this week, preparing and polishing the various features in the program.
Assuming the task of working with the 30 teenagers is Jen Richards. A Central Knox County Junior Miss representative in 1999, Richards has been involved with the Ohio Junior Miss Scholarship Program since 2001, including the past four years as program director. She traveled to the National Junior Miss Scholarship Program last year and this year is directing the girls in the Self Expression portion of the program.
“Just being around the program and also working at nationals has helped me a lot,” said Richards, who admitted she once took tap lessons but has no other dance instruction to her credit. “We send a DVD to the girls at home and have them learn the routines on their own,” she said. The week of rehearsals at the Memorial Theater is for placing the girls for staging, polishing and making any necessary changes. So when they are not attending luncheons or other group functions throughout the week, it’s back to the Memorial Theater stage to get all the elements of the program down pat.” But there is a little bit of down time.
During the Self Expression portion of the program, participants walk through a choreographed sequence to music where each girl, one by one, will enter the spotlight and be judged on poise and presentation. This is one of a few elements involved in the judging process. Mary Hinderer is the coordinator of the fitness program, while Mindy Farry of Gahanna and Diane Lazear of Apple Valley choreographed the opening and closing numbers.