Recently, I was contacted by Michelle Bloch, the chairwoman for Ivanhoe’s Distinguished Young Women program.
She needed a couple of judges for this year’s event and knowing I enjoy judging things and I was a Princess Kay finalist, she enlisted my help. Once she convinced me to join the judging panel, I recruited one of my best friends from Canby to join the fun.
We enjoy going to livestock shows and fairs and judging, so I figured he’d enjoy the Distinguished Young Women (DYW) program. Neither of us really knew what the DYW program was since neither Minneota or Canby has one.
I knew a little about it since both of my brothers’ girlfriends have been involved with Ivanhoe’s program and both are very proud of it. Distinguished Young Women is a unique program that combines the chance to win college scholarships with a program that offers Life Skills training to prepare young women for the world after high school.
The program takes place in all 50 states and Washington DC with some states having local programs as well. Young women participate in either their junior or senior year of high school. Each Distinguished Young Women program evaluates participants in the following categories: Scholastics (25%), Interview (25%), Talent (20%), Fitness (15%), and Self-Expression (15%). Local program winners, in states where locals are available, advance to the state level. All state winners participate in the National Finals which is held in Mobile, Alabama the June after participants graduate from high school.
In Ivanhoe’s case, girls are chosen their junior year so they have that year to prepare for the state contest which is held during their senior year. Last year, Molly Krog was chosen as the Distinguished Young Woman of Ivanhoe with Kim Bloch chosen as First Alternate and Madison Scholten as Second Alternate.
All three will be starting their senior year at Minneota High School soon. In November, Krog and Bloch will be headed to the Twin Cities for the state wide competition. The Ivanhoe Class of 2015’s winner, Emily Clarke, was the state winner from Minnesota and competed at the National Competition in Alabama.
This year in Ivanhoe, juniors-to-be at Minneota, Anna Krier, Jada Sterzinger and Abby Rost competed. The entire judging process was wonderful. Before the competition, a certified judge completed the eduction portion of the judging.
First, we had 10 minute interviews with each candidate where we asked a multitude of thought provoking questions. Then, the public was invited for the remaining parts of the judging.
There was an opening number, self expression, special entertainment by Molly Krog, talent presentations, special entertainment by Kim Bloch, fitness presentation, comments by Krog, parent recognition and finally the awards. For the talent portion, Sterzinger performed a beautiful dance number that she choreographed herself.
Rost performed a wonderful memorized saxophone solo called, “These Days.” Krier impressively sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” while she used sign language as she sang. All three young ladies were a real delight to judge and I hope they are all proud of what they were able to accomplish.
As judges, we just gave them a score for each category out of 10. Then, the scores were entered into the computer so they could be given the proper weight and adjustment. In the end, Krier was named Second Alternate, Sterzinger First Alternate and Rost was named the winner.
All three young ladies received scholarships to be used toward their future education. This is such a wonderful program, I was honored to be asked to judge. Minneota High School is lucky to have you ladies!