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, and both of Knox County’s representatives stacked up well against the competition.
Outshining all the others, Kinsey Crow, Central Knox County Junior Miss, was chosen as the first ever Distinguished Young Woman of Ohio. The daughter of Robyn and David Crow, 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.”
Olivia Van Winkle, the daughter of Bonnie and Brian Van Winkle, Greater Knox County, was the second runner-up. Other winners were first runner-up Victoria Fox of Wayne County; program finalist Keta Burke-Williams, Montgomery County; and program finalist Kimberly Sausman, Northern Franklin County.
Saturday’s program at the historic Memorial Theater followed a week of hard work, rehearsals and a myriad community activities.
Preliminary awards were 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. Bokenkamp sang “Once Upon a Dream” from Broadway’s “Jekyll and Hyde.” Sausman performed a dance routine.
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 and Mahoning County’s Jillian Smith received the interview awards sponsored by ECR Computers, Networking and Web design.
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. Besides those volunteering behind the scenes, 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 “I Can’t Do It Alone” from the Broadway musical “Chicago” and later did an interpretive dance.
Saturday’s audience got to know a little bit about the young women’s host families. The host fathers escorted their “daughters” on stage, and the young women said a few words about the dads and the host mothers.
The audience, through a slide show, was also treated to a backstage look at the various rehearsals and community activities and biographical montage of photos of the participants from babyhood to the present.
Crow’s parents, Robyn and David, 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 other things,” added Robyn.