On Feb. 23, the Greater Waldorf Jaycees hosted the Distinguished Young Women of Charles County Scholarship Program for young women from Charles County, according to a news release.
The Distinguished Young Women of Charles County Scholarship Program is an official preliminary of Distinguished Young Women of America, the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school junior females of its type. It is an opportunity to obtain scholarships and is free to participate.
This is not a beauty pageant, nor is it affiliated with Miss Teen or anything of that nature, and there are no crowns involved. Rather, participants compete for scholarships to the college of their choice. Contestants are judged in five categories: interview (25%), talent (20%), scholastics (25%), self-expression (15%), and physical fitness (15%).
Distinguished Young Women, formerly America’s Junior Miss, was founded in 1958 and is headquartered in Mobile, Ala. More than 700,000 young women from across the nation have participated in Distinguished Young Women programs at the local, state and national levels.
In addition to cash scholarships, Distinguised Young Women participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from nearly 200 colleges and universities. Distinguished Young Women has provided more than $1.1 billion in cash and college scholarship opportunities.
In addition to providing scholarships, Distinguished Young Women challenges each participant to share its national outreach program, Be Your Best Self, with young people across the nation. Through Be Your Best Self, Distinguished Young Women encourage self esteem and excellence in all young people through the program’s five principles: be healthy, be involved, be studious, be ambitious and be responsible.
The Distinguished Young Woman of Charles County 2020 is Elizabeth Olson Daniel, who also won the scholastics and talent categories of the program. Daniel, the daughter of William Daniel and Julie Daniel, was a junior at Thomas Stone High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Student Government Association, International Thespian Society, and the Thomas Stone Acapella Group. She is on the principal’s honor roll. Her achievements include receiving the Minds in Motion Scholar Athlete Award six times, receiving the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and being named Student of the Quarter in Algebra II and English I. Her activities include playing piano, playing varsity field hockey, and varsity cross country for Thomas Stone High School; and singing in all-county, tri-county, and all-state chorus. As a volunteer, Daniel has assisted in staffing the Senior Citizen Prom at the Jaycees, assisted hosting with a holiday party at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home with the National Honors Society, participated in clean ups of the Thomas Stone memorial garden with the Student Government Association and assisted with giving school supplies to students in need at her high school. In her spare time, she enjoys music, theater, mathematics, photography and reading. When she graduates, Daniel said she plans to attend Wake Forest University and pursue a career as a software engineer.
The winner of the physical fitness category of the program was Jordan Renee Bellamy. Bellamy, the daughter of Elmore and Stephanie Bellamy, was a junior at Westlake High School. She is a member of the Spanish Club. Her achievements include receiving an academic letter, receiving four varsity letters and being on the principal’s honor roll since ninth grade. Bellamy has volunteered with Northeast Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. In her spare time, she enjoys listening and editing music, dance, photography, cheerleading and track and field. When she graduates, Bellamy said she plans to attend either Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University or West Virginia University. She would like to pursue a career as a lawyer, paralegal or engineer.
The winner of the interview category of the program was Eyana Marie Grace Dixon. Dixon, the daughter of Eddy and Yalonda Dixon, was a junior at LaPlata High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society, along with National World Language, English, Science, Music and Technical Honor Societies. She is on the principal’s honor roll. Her achievements include receiving the Minds in Motion Scholar Athlete Award, as well as a varsity letter. Her activities include being active in her church youth group, cross-country and indoor and outdoor track. As a volunteer, Dixon is a Children’s Church teacher, she has served food on Thanksgiving Day at the Jude House and on Christmas Day at a women’s shelter. In her spare time she enjoys running track and field, writing poetry, playing piano, dancing and painting. When she graduates, Dixon said she plans to attend the University of Georgia to pursue a career as a health care professional manager.
The spirit award winner is Rebecca Helen Tillman. Tillman, the daughter of Marcus and Blonda Tillman, was a junior at North Point High School. She has received high honors. Her achievements include receiving a national theater qualification, receiving a sportsmanship award, being named Most Promising Freshman, receiving a coach’s award for cheerleading and receiving an academic letter. Her activities include being a member of the marching band, being a part of Skills USA, being a Maryland State Thespian Officer, theater and cheerleading. Tillman volunteers at her church by assisting with cleaning. She has also volunteered at a holiday concert for the elderly. In her spare time, she enjoys welding, acting, listening to music, film and playwright. When she graduates, Tillman said she plans to attend Stevenson University. She hopes to eventually be an award-winning actress.
The other spirit winner was Shanell Tamira Bush. Bush, the daughter of Nakia Bush, was a junior at North Point High School. Her achievements include being on the principal’s honor roll, receiving a coach’s award for cheerleading and receiving the B.U.G. award. Her activities include being a member of Skills USA, acting, cooking and writing. As a volunteer, Shanell has volunteered by feeding the homeless. She is also a volunteer at St. Timothy Episcopal Church where she spends the night babysitting children. In her spare time, she enjoys doing hair, makeup and directing and editing videos. When she graduates, Shanell plans to attend University of California in Los Angeles. She hopes to eventually be an award-winning actress and director.
On July 27, the Distinguished Young Woman of Charles County, Elizabeth Daniel, advanced from the local program to compete in the Distinguished Young Women of Maryland Scholarship Program that was held at Frederick Community College, where she proudly represented Charles County. The young lady who was selected as Distinguished Young Women of Maryland will travel to Mobile, Ala. in 2020, to participate in the Distinguished Young Women national finals and compete for a share of more than $125,000 in cash scholarships and college scholarships to more than 200 colleges and universities across the nation.
Young women who are juniors in high school in Charles and St. Mary’s County this year, graduating in 2021, and are interested in finding out more about the Distinguished Young Woman of Southern Maryland Scholarship program can visit www.distinguishedyw.org for more information. The 2020 Distinguished Young Woman of Southern Maryland scholarship program will be held Feb. 22.