Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Distinguished Young Women

My name is Tasha Haight and I am the Distinguished Young Woman of the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the Class of 2014. Sounds pretty impressive, right? But what exactly is Distinguished Young Women?
Distinguished Young Women, formerly America's Junior Miss, is basically a scholarship pageant. Contestants are judged on academics, interview, self-expression, fitness, and talent. Girls compete in their local programs during their junior year, and the local winners (like me!) move up to compete for the state title during the summer before their senior year in high school. Most state programs last more than one day, because the girls do more than just the pageant. They go out into the community and do community service, rehearse their program, learn about their duties, and have fun with each other and their "little sister".
Me and Maddie (my little sister)
on her farm!
In Maryland, during the week of the state program we stay at a host family's house with our "little sister". The little girls really look up to the big girls. These girls are tons of fun and balls of energy! Me and my little sister went to the carnival one night, swimming another...we even had a dance party!
When we weren't rehearsing for the show, we stayed busy! We went to a summer camp to help hang out with the children, and each DYW got to do something different. Some played checkers, some made tables...I made corn husk dolls! It was my first time and I was so proud of myself! The children loved us all so much that one camper had a pretend wedding in the garden and got married to the Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland 2013, Aleks Knepper!
Later we went to Shepherd's Staff to help them get ready for their Back to School event. People were making cards and sorting all sorts of clothes, from underwear to coats, and I got to make coloring books for the young school-goers. Once I finished that I helped sort the pants.
But it wasn't all work. We were supposed to have a pool party the following day, at my host family's house, for all the DYW, but it was raining. So after plenty of games at lunch, we all went bowling. I came in second!! It was duck pin bowling (the small ones), which is what I'm used to, but I didn't expect to do so well! It was a pleasant surprise.
Soon all the crazy activities came to an end as showtime came closer. We preformed a jammin' opening number and little sister routine along with the judged pieces, and anxiously awaited the results as to who would be the next Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland for 2014 and move on to represent our state for Nationals in Mobile, Alabama next June. After a long wait (there was a tie! so the judges had to re-vote), Margo Huffman was announced Maryland's 2014 Distinguished Young Woman.
Not gonna lie, I was really upset I didn't win anything. But when I got home, a letter I had written to myself last year during Confirmation class was waiting for me. They had waited a year to send them to us! It was like I was psychic. What I had written in the letter was exactly what I needed to hear to calm down, and once I could accept my defeat, I realized that I was one of 12 girls IN THE ENTIRE STATE to even be able to compete in the state program, and that was pretty cool. I am one of the best Maryland has, and I plan on representing the Eastern Shore (and even all of Maryland!) as best as I can. I am one of the best. And I will be one of the best. Forever and always.

To learn more about DYW check out there website: www.distinguishedyw.org
Feel free to "like" my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EasternShoreDYW14

I recommend all juniors to apply! Just participating can earn you major scholarships, like full tuition at Troy University in Alabama!

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