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Stinson selected as 2021 DYW

Some of the “best of the best” of high school senior girls in Butler and Lowndes counties vied for the title of Distinguished Young Woman at Greenville’s historic Ritz Theatre last Saturday afternoon.

Butler County was represented by Ruth Nimmer and Katelyn Stinson, both Greenville High seniors, Katoria Bowen of Georgiana School and Jess Causey of Fort Dale Academy.

It was Katelyn Stinson who was selected as Butler County’s DYW for 2021, while Faith Lane, a senior at Lowndes Academy, was selected as her county’srepresentative.

Katelyn also received the Talent, Interview and Self-expression Category Awards.

She is the 50th Butler County senior to be selected to represent the county at the state program, and the first Greenville High School student selected since Wimberly Edwards in 1999.

Her winning talent was a vocal performance of “What A Beautiful Name.” For the GHS senior, it was a dream come true—and a challenge.

“When they called my name as the new Butler County DYW, I could not believe it. This title is something I have been dreaming of since I was a freshman in high school,” Butler County’s DYW for 2021 said.

Katelyn, a long-time beauty pageant competitor, former Ritz Kid and a Greenville Community Theater performer, said she experienced much more than “just another pageant” during DYW week.

“Competing in this program really makes you do a self examination. Preparing and participating in the Distinguished Young Women of Butler County Program has taught me to be confident in the person I am and to encourage others to be your best self,” Katelyn said.

“I am the first representative from Greenville High School in over 20 years, so I am working extra hard to make my Tiger family and this county proud.”

Runner-up Jess Causey, a senior at Fort Dale Academy, was chosen as the winner of the Scholastic and Fitness Category Awards. Katoria Bowen, a Georgiana School senior, won the Spirit of DYW Award as voted on by her fellow participants.

Over $4,000 in scholarship monies was awarded Saturday to the five young women who participated in the Annual Butler County/ Lowndes County DYW program. In addition to scholarship monies accompanying category awards, every participant took home a $150 cash scholarship, thanks to contributions by the Proud Papas, fathers of former DYWs.

Board of Directors Chairwomen for the DYW program, Butler County’s Starla Jones and Hanna Thrower of Lowndes County, were very pleased with Saturday’s turnout, considering the restrictions resulting from COVID-19 that hindered the program from having some of traditional aspects of the event.

“The girls that competed Saturday made their respective schools proud as they showcased their talents, onstage charisma, knowledge of current events and overall grace,” said Jones.

“Any one of the girls would have been an excellent choice, and we are confident that Katelyn will represent Butler County well in Montgomery at the state level in January.”

Jackie Thompson, a member of the Butler County DYW Board and mother Cailyn Thompson, the 2015 Butler County DYW, agrees that, in spite of changes forced by the pandemic, last weekend’s program remained an inspiring and successful event.

“We missed having ‘Little Sister’ participation with junior girls aspiring to involvement with DYW and the ‘High Heel Boot Camp’ involving the youngsters vas we have had in past years,” Thompson said.

“But I was so happy we got to have some normalcy by hosting an in- person program, as some neighboring counties were forced to go to virtual competitions held earlier in the summer. We are already looking forward to next year and making it bigger and better than ever.”

Thompson encourages any high school junior girls interested in participating to start making plans now to be a part of the 2022 program.

“We will have someone from each school reaching out to these girls, and can’t wait to work with them next summer,” Thompson said.

In the meanwhile, Katelyn Stinson says she is eager to represent the program in her county in the coming months, as she prepares for the state finals in January.

“It’s going to take a lot to prepare for this big event—but I am so looking forward to it, too,” Katelyn said.

Formerly known as America’s Junior Miss, the Distinguished Young Woman Program is the oldest and largest scholarship program of its kind in the United States. A number of colleges and universities offer scholarship monies for any senior girl participating in their county’s program, regardless of whether they place or win.