MOUNT VERNON — Scholarship, leadership and talent are qualities exhibited by all 30 of the participants in the 2011 Distinguished Young Women of Ohio Scholarship Program, formerly the Ohio Junior Miss Scholarship Program. Outshining all the others, Kinsey Crow of Central Knox County was chosen as the first ever Distinguished Young Woman of Ohio. She will represent Ohio in the 2011 America’s Distinguished Young Women program to be held in Mobile, Ala., in June.
“I’m just stunned,” Crow said after being named the winner. “I don’t even know how to describe it. It feels incredible. I feel so honored. I’m so excited, I can’t even wait to go down to Alabama. This past week has been the most amazing experience of my life. I met so many incredible, talented girls. It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a lot of fun. I had a great time.”
Other big winners were first runner up Victoria Fox of Wayne County; second runner up Olivia Van Winkle, Greater Knox County; program finalist Keta Burke-Williams, Montgomery County; and program finalist Kimberly Sausman, Northern Franklin County.
Saturday’s program at the historic Memorial Theatre followed a week of hard work, rehearsals and myriad communities activities, with preliminary awards being given out Friday evening. Talent, self-expression and fitness routines showcased each young woman’s abilities both nights while entertaining the appreciative audience. Saturday’s talent portion included dance numbers, instrumental pieces, tumbling, cheerleading, vocal solos and a stand up comedy routine.
Talent awards, sponsored by Mary Kim Elkins and David Greenspan, were earned by Ashland County’s Katherine Bokenkamp and Sausman. Fitness awards, sponsored by Trio Lanes, went to Fox and Alison Scudds of Greater Franklin County. Allysun Mellick, Mansfield, won a self-expression award sponsored by the Ohio Junior Miss Foundation in memory of Paul E. Slaughter, as did Vinton County’s Andrea Mercer. Crow received one of the Interview awards sponsored by ECR Computers, Networking and Web design, and Jillian Smith of Mahoning County was the other interview award winner. Cash scholarships, donated by various sponsors, were awarded to Crow and Lisa Miller of Eastern Franklin County. Michele Theodore of Northern Allen County was the overall scholastic winner.
Many former Junior Miss participants helped with this year’s program. Dana Ullom-Vucelich, Belmont County, and her daughter Jenna Vucelich, Delaware County, served as program emcees, and 2010 Ohio Junior Miss Monica Bates was a featured performer as well as speaker and announcer. While the judges were tabulating the contest results on Saturday, several Junior Misses from earlier years, dubbed The Forget-me-nots, assembled on stage and talked briefly about their lives since — and because of — Junior Miss. Special entertainment was provided by Jeanette Logan, Greater Morrow County, who sang “Johnny One Note.” Former Central Delaware Junior Miss Brittany Flanningan performed a tap routine to “Sweet Caroline,” and the 2010 Illinois Junior Miss Anaya Duncan sang “I Know where I’ve Been.” Bates performed two different dance routines.
Crow’s parents, David and Robyn Crow, were overwhelmed by Kinsey’s accomplishment.
“It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling right now,” David said. “We didn’t really have any high expectations, but it’s just wonderful.”
“We just feel blessed and thankful, humbled and so many things,” added Robyn.