Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Cloudy
55°
Cloudy
Hi 71° | Lo 59°

Fifteen 'Distinguished Young Women' to compete Sunday

  • A group of girls rehearse for this year's Easthampton Junior Miss competition Wednesday at White Brook Middle School.

    A group of girls rehearse for this year's Easthampton Junior Miss competition Wednesday at White Brook Middle School. Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of girls rehearse for this year's Easthampton Junior Miss competition Wednesday at White Brook Middle School.

    A group of girls rehearse for this year's Easthampton Junior Miss competition Wednesday at White Brook Middle School. Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of girls rehearse for this year's Easthampton Junior Miss competition Wednesday at White Brook Middle School.
  • A group of girls rehearse for this year's Easthampton Junior Miss competition Wednesday at White Brook Middle School.

— Fifteen high school seniors from Easthampton, Southampton and Goshen will show off their brains, fitness and skills on stage at the Academy of Music Sunday in hopes of taking home the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Greater Easthampton.

The 47th annual performance is the culmination of weeks of hard work for the girls, who are competing for a total of $16,000 in scholarship money and a chance to represent the area at the state and national Distinguished Young Women competitions, formerly known as Junior Miss.

“We have 15 amazing young ladies who have worked really, really hard and are really enthusiastic about doing the show this weekend,” said Jennifer Lawton, chairwoman of the local program’s board of directors.

The theme of this year’s show is “On Broadway,” Lawton said. It kicks off at 1 p.m. with a group number featuring a medley of songs from Broadway musicals including “Cats,” “Hairspray” and others.

The girls will be judged in five categories: scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression, in which each girl speaks on stage. They completed 10 four-hour practices over the last two months to prepare.

“It’s not just learning the dances,” Lawton said. Participants also spend time discussing current events and interview techniques. “Many of them have never interviewed before, either for college or for a job, so they really need to get their feet wet and practice.”

To compete in the Greater Easthampton competition, the girls must be high school seniors and live in Easthampton, Southampton, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Goshen or Chesterfield. While most attend Easthampton or Hampshire Regional High School, Lawton said this year some of the girls competing are from Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton, Holyoke Catholic High School in Chicopee and St. Mary’s High School in Westfield.

“That’s fun,” said Lawton, explaining that the girls have made friends from outside their own school. “A lot of them went to grammar school together, so this is like a reunion for them.”

The following is a list of the 15 participants: Paige Czarnik, Bayleigh Murphy, Samantha Brand, Abigail Edgin, Cassandra Golob, Angelena Delaney, Bridget Salvetti, Emily Dyer, Mary Gyeidu, Kelsey Bouthilette and Rachel Connell, all of Easthampton; Victoria Bashista, Kayla Rice, Olivia Griswold, of Southampton; and Grace Davidson of Goshen.

Lawton, a Southampton resident who has been involved with the Easthampton-based program for 16 years, said that what keeps her coming back every year is the “end result” at the show.

“I love seeing the young lady who was shy in the beginning be confident when she’s on stage or interviewing with grown-ups,” she said. “I love seeing the success each girl has, whether she wins an award or not. It’s a refreshing view of the younger generation; I think sometimes it gets a bad wrap.”

Tickets to the show cost $15 and are available online at www.academyofmusictheatre.com or at the door.

Comments
Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.