Meridian Star

February 2, 2014

Distinguished Young Women

Meridian & Lauderdale County programs set for Feb. 8


The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —  More than $28,000 in cash scholarships will be presented to contestants during the 2015 Meridian/Lauderdale County Distinguished Young Woman programs on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the MSU Riley Center.

    Six young ladies will compete for the title of Meridian’s Distinguished Young Woman, while 10 will vie for the title of Lauderdale County’s Distinguished Young Woman. Both winners will move on to represent the area at the Mississippi Distinguished Young Woman Program in July in Meridian.

    In addition to cash scholarships, winners and alternates will earn scholarships from various colleges include William Carey University, the University of West Alabama, Mississippi State University, Delta State University and Meridian Community College.

    Set to present their successors with medallions are Mia Hall, Meridian’s 2014 Distinguished Young Woman, and

Caroline Henson, Lauderdale County’s 2014 Distinguished Young Woman.

    Special guest will be 2014 Mississippi’s Distinguished Young Woman Peryn Reeves-Darby of Jackson.

    At all levels of the Distinguished Young Woman program, judging standards and basis of selection are the same. The emphasis is on excellence in scholastics, personality, character, physical well-being, creativity and relationships with her fellow peers.

    Panel Evaluation: 25 percent – A 10-minute interview is conducted with each candidate. The judge’s panel scores the candidate on perception, personality, a sense of values, clarity of expression and human relations.

    Talent: 25 percent – Judging is based on originality, technical ability, appropriateness of selection and costume, stage presence and performance.

    Scholastic Achievement: 20 percent – A panel of qualified educators reviews and rates transcripts of grades and scores of scholastic and college entrance exams.

    Physical Fitness: 15 percent – Contestants are scored on coordination, stamina, agility, posture and carriage, attitude and overall conditioning to the choreographed routine.

    Self Expression: 15 percent – Grace, poise, carriage and posture are considered along with composure and speech.



Meridian Contestants:



Contestant: Hannah Davis

School: Meridian Christian Home Educators

Parents: Richie and Mitzi Davis

Career Goal: Sports Medicine/Physical Therapy

College Choice: Mississippi State University

Activities/Honors: Gymnastics/Cheerleading Coach at Pat Gray Academy, Meridian Elite All Star Cheerleading Squad, MCHE Lady Flyers Basketball Team, MCHE Flyers Co-ed Volleyball Team, Meridian Gymnastics Team, Church Bible Drills, Vacation Bible School Leader, Children’s Church Volunteer, Heritage Homeschool Yearbook Staff

Talent: Acro Jazz Routine to “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis



Contestant: Tatum Bradley Dye

School: Lamar School

Parents: Bradley and Gena Dye

Career Goal: Liberal Arts

College Choice: Belmont University

Activities/Honors: Dusty Social Service Club President, Dusty Social Service Club Vice President, First Presbyterian Church Youth Group, Varsity Soccer Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Piano Lessons,

Babysitting, Yearbook Staff

Talent: Piano Selection “La Velocité” by Johann Friedrich Burgmüller



Contestant: Mayah Janae Emerson

School: Meridian High School

Parents: Albert Emerson Jr. and Katricia Emerson

Career Goal: Education/High School Principal

College Choice: Mississippi State University

Activities/Honors: Meridian High School Wildcat Band Drum Major, Vice President of MHS Wildcat Players, National Honor Society, Vice President of Junior Civitan Community Service Club, MHS Junior Class Majority Representative, Church Praise Team, Delta G.E.M.S, Former MHS Wildcat Band Color Guard Captain

Talent: Vocal Presentation of “At Last” by Etta James



Contestant: Ann Morgan Lamar

School: Lamar High School

Parents: Alan and Lou Ann Lamar

Career Goal: Play Therapist

College Choice: University of Mississippi

Activities/Honors: Legislative Page - House, Lt. Governor and Governor, Dusty Social

Service Club - 12th Grade Rep., Founder of  Yellow Roses Bible Study, High School Cheerleader, Soccer and Tennis, First Baptist Church Youth Choir Tour, Fellowship of  Christian Athletes, MS School of Protocol and Etiquette, USTA-Junior Team State Champion Player

Talent: Jazz Dance “Jet Set”, from Broadway’s Catch Me If You Can by Marc Shaiman



Contestant: Elizabeth Payton Lippert

School: Russell Christian Academy

Parents: Larry & Kim Lippert

Career Goal: Physical Therapy, Athletic Training, Coaching

College Choice: University of Southern Mississippi or William Carey University

Activities/Honors: Fellowship of Christian Athletes Vice President, Honor’s Society, Westwood Baptist Church Youth Group and Youth Choir, Church, Association, and State Bible Drills, RCA Headmaster’s Council, Student Ministry Team, Xplosion Tournament Fastpitch, Varsity Fastpitch Softball, Varsity Basketball, Varsity Cheerleader

Talent: Pitching Presentation



Contestant: Briana Maria Scruggs

School: Meridian High School

Parents: Tommy Scruggs & Lesia Moody

Career Goal: Child Psychologist

College Choice: The University of Alabama

Activities/Honors: Meridian High National Honor Society, Dusty Social Service Club, Varsity Cheerleader, Junior Civitan Club, Softball Team • Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Northcrest Baptist Church Youth Group, Leadership Lauderdale Youth Organization

Talent: Modern Dance to “Kings & Queens” by Audio Adrenaline



Lauderdale County



Contestant: Sarah Katlyn Avera

School: Southeast Lauderdale High School

Parents: Donnald Avera and Jo Mattox

Career Goal: Ophthalmologist

College Choice: University of Mississippi

Activities/Honors: Senior Beta Club, Health Occupation Students of America, Cheerleading, Spanish Club, Student Council, International Presentation of Performers (IPOP), Mississippi State Fair Talent Competition, Leadership Lauderdale Youth, MCC Scuba Diving Instructor’s Assistant, Vimville Volunteer Fire Department

Talent: Vocal presentation to “Defying Gravity” from Broadway’s Wicked by Stephen Schwartz



Contestant: Taylor Renee Blackwell

School: Clarkdale High School

Parents: David and Linda Blackwell

Career Goal: Nurse Anesthetist

College Choice: University of Southern Mississippi

Activities/Honors: National Honor Society, Leadership Lauderdale Youth, Clarkdale High School HOSA Vice President, Health Occupational Students of America, Spanish Club, Stage 2 (Meridian Performing Arts Center Youth), Piano Lessons

Talent: Piano Solo “Norwegian Concerto” in A Minor by Edvard Greig



Contestant: Savanna Taylor Boyd

School: West Lauderdale High School

Parents: Dr. Roland and Cynthia Boyd

Career Goal: Dermatologist

College Choice: University of Mississippi

Activities/Honors: Northcrest Baptist Church Youth Group, Velocity Church Choir, Dusty Social Service Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Love Out Loud Ministry, Wesley House Community Clinic Volunteer, Meridian’s Boy’s and Girl’s Club Volunteer, Church of the Mediator Special Needs Act, Health Occupations Students of America, Yearbook Committee

Talent: Vocal Presentation to “I Wanna be a Rockette”



Contestant: Erin Lynann  Bratu

School: West Lauderdale High School

Parents: Jerry and Cyndy Bratu

Career Goal: Chemical Engineering

College Choice: University of Mississippi

Activities/Honors: WLHS Mighty Knight Marching Band - Drum Major, Band - Flute and Piccolo, Color Guard - Co-Captain,  Band Council – Secretary, History Club – President, Math & Science Team, National Junior Honor Society,  Northcrest Baptist Church Youth,  Leo Lions Club, The Torch - Editor

Talent: Color Guard Routine to Ellie Goulding’s “Figure 8”



Contestant: Jamie Renee’ Chaney

School: West Lauderdale High School

Parents: Michael Chaney & Sharon Blythe

Career Goal: Undecided

College Choice: Mississippi State University

Activities/Honors: Member of Northcrest Baptist Church and Youth Group, Velocity Youth Choir, History Club, Mighty Knight Marching Band, Band Color Guard Captain, WLHS Band Co-Chaplain, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, Student Council, Junior National Honor Society

Talent: Rifle Spinning to “Human” by Christina Perri



Contestant: Katherine Lindsey Hollister

School: Southeast Lauderdale High School

Parents: Kelly Hollister & Cassandra Singleton

Career Goal: Career in law

College Choice: The University of Mississippi

Activities/Honors: Debs Social Service Club, The Queen City Junior Civitan Club, Highland Baptist Church Youth Group, Student Council, High School Annual Staff, SADD, Beta Club, HOSA, Spanish Club, High School Prom Committee

Talent: Vocal presentation “We’ve Got to Get America Back to God” by Jerry Thompson



Contestant: Savannah Faith Hutcheson

School: West Lauderdale High School

Parents: Charles Hutcheson and Denise Winborn

Career Goal: Nursing or Paramedics

College Choices: University of Mississippi

Activities/Honors: Administrative Assistant -History Club, School Chorus, Church Youth Chorus

Talent: Vocal presentation to “When You Believe” from Prince of Egypt



Contestant: Hayley Nicole Rank

School: Lamar High School

Parents: Ronnie and Cheryl Rank

Career Goal: Dermatologist

College Choice: Washington University

Activities/Honors: Dusty Social Service Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, First Baptist Youth, Carol Merrill Dance Company, Lamar Varsity Tennis, Lamar Book Club, Decorating Committee for Dusty Social Service Club, Soccer, Meridian Little Theater, Cheerleading

Talent: Jazz Dance to “Big Noise “by Bette Midler”



Contestant: Morgan Ross

School: Meridian Christian Home Educators

Parents: Jim and Cindy Ross

Career Goal: Metallurgical Engineering

College Choice: University of Alabama

Activities/Honors: Boys and Girls Club Mentor, Habitat for Humanity, 30 Hour Famine Project, Meridian Christian Home Educators Volleyball Team, Meridian Christian Home Educators Tennis Team, Meridian Swim Team, Stage 2 Teen Theater Group, Aineo–Highland Baptist Church Youth Choir, Meridian Christian Home Educators Prom Committee, Super Summer Leadership School

Talent: Piano performance “Sabre Dance” by Aram Khachaturian



Contestant: Kyra Love Smiley

School: CRC Homeschool

Parents: Russell and Lindsey Smiley

Career Goal: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

College Choice: University of Alabama

Activities/Honors: Leadership Team MPAC Stage 2 Theater Training 2013, Debs Social

Service Club, East Mississippi Competition Cheer Level 3, Praise Team/Sound Tech Arkadelphia Baptist Church, Sanctuary Choir Arkadelphia Baptist Church, NJROTC Assistant Athletic Officer, Varsity Cheerleader, Fellowship Christian Athletes • Competition Dance Troupe

Talent: Contemporary dance to “Hallelujah” by Kate Voegele



    Sponsors of the Meridian/Lauderdale County Distinguished Young Woman program include A&B Electric Company Inc., A&B Communications Inc., Great Southern National Bank, Slay Steel, Structural Steel Services Inc. and Ralph Morgan Logging Inc.

    Tickets for the program called by purchased by calling the MSU Riley Center box office at (601) 696-2200.