MOUNT VERNON — Talent abounded on the stage of the Memorial Theater in the first night of the Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Program on Friday evening. From singing, dancing, fitness and self expression, the participants in the 2011 program brought out their best in their quest to earn scholarships and the opportunity to serve as the 2011 Distinguished Young Woman of Ohio.
Serving as masters of ceremony for the evening were mother and daughter team Dana Ullom-Vucelich and Jenna Vucelich. Dana is a former Miss Belmont County and Jenna a former Miss Delaware County in the Ohio Junior Miss Program. Also serving as co-host was Monica Bates, the reigning 2010 Ohio Junior Miss.
The 30 young women are judged on the following criteria: interview, 25 percent; scholarship achievement, 20 percent; self expression, 15 percent; fitness, 15 percent; and talent, 25 percent.
As the class of 2011 prepared for its first round of judging, Bates sang “Astonishing.” With eight girls in the Blue Group going first with their performances, Angelica Dye from Central Marion County performed an Irish step dance to “Finnegan’s Wake,” and Mallory Spence chose a color guard routine which included a rifle and flag to “Don’t Stop Believing.”
A fitness routine followed with the Orange group, as the girls went through a rigorous workout to “Wakka Wakka.”
The self expression segment followed for the Purple Group where the contestants were judged on personality, intellect, poise and their response to a question selected earlier.
When asked what they have learned during this week during the DYW Program, Wayne County’s Victoria Fox said, “I have learned that it is very important to believe in yourself. You can become anything you want by just believing.”
Kaylyn Johnson of Central Lucas County said “I can do anything and can accomplish any goal by applying myself.”
Another talent segment followed for the Pink Group. In this group, an intriguing moment of poetry was shared with the audience as Southern Allen County’s Nicole Fairbum recited “The Woman At the Well.” Northern Franklin County’s Kimberly Sausman performed a stirring dance rendition to “Gold.”
Following a brief intermission, Jenna Vucelich interviewed Bates regarding her experiences over the past year. Ullom-Vucelich praised the girls for their performances thus far, saying “They’re motivated, they’re driven and they’re talented.”
The judging continued with a fitness segment by the Purple Group and a self expression segment by the Orange Group, which was asked the question, “What qualities define you as a good citizen?”
Andrea Mercer of Vinton County defined her qualities as being “respect, responsibility and trustworthiness.” Nicole Rhoads of Lima listed her qualities as “self-awareness, responsibility and generosity.”