Published 6:49 pm Thursday, July 9, 2020

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By: Ora Nelson

The Distinguished Young Women (DYW) competition will be held on July 18 at the LBW Dixon Center.

The program will be split into two parts: a part just for the talent portion at 2:30 p.m. and another for the fitness and self-expression portions, along with some guest performances, at 7:00 p.m.

“There will be a 200 ticket limit for each show,” said Barbara Peek, a member of the Distinguished Young Women of Covington County board. “We’re working with Skip Enzor to set up a pay-per-view for those that can’t be there. It’ll be $50 for [viewers to watch] both parts.”

For DYW of Covington County 2020, there will be 11 participants from all over Covington County. Each participant will have two “little sisters”—for a total of 22 little sisters—that are girls in their sophomore (rising junior) year of high school at a Covington County school.

“We would love to see girls from every school in the county participate,” said Peek.

“We’re going to have a lot of different talent this year,” said Peek.

The talent portion will feature three baton routines, an archery demonstration, pianists, singers, and multiple dance routines. Cameron Stephens, the Covington County DYW 2019 winner, will also be performing at the 2:30 show.

“I will be dancing to Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Hold Me While You Wait,’” said Stephens. “We always try to have a variety of talents at Covington County’s DYW. There will be three guest performers. We met each other at the state program.”

Among those three is Dominique Verville, the Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama and second runner up in DYW of America, performing a lyrical dance in the later portion of the show.

Participants faced unique challenges learning everything for the program this year. Along with Zoom video calls to learn the fitness counts (the routine for the fitness portion), the girls also had to alter some plans from the traditional DYW experience.

“We’ve really only had to postpone one of our life events [due to COVID-19],” said Peek. “DYW is based on the five components of “Be Your Best Self” (BYBS). Through the [BYBS] program, girls get to know each other and themselves.”

Be Involved – volunteered at the Full Tummy Project, stocking shelves

Be Healthy – Bar Energy Class at the Andalusia Ballet Studio

Be Ambitious – Stage presence class

Be Studious – Weekly interview preparation and keeping up with current events

Be Creative – Creativity, painting workshop

“I think it [DYW] is important because the girls gain such important life skills throughout the program,” said Peek. “They bond [with each other] and cheer on everyone.”

Peek cited her still fond memories of her time in the program when she was in high school.

“The interview portion is one of the best things that prepares them for what’s to come in life and in college,” said Peek.

More information and the application to sign up for the program can be found at the DYW of Covington County’s website, www.covington.al.distinguishedyw.org.