Distinguished Young Women different this year

News Publisher

Later this month, hundreds of people should be gathering in Woodfin Patterson Auditorium on the campus of Coastal Alabama Community College in Brewton. Should be gathering, but won’t.
This year, the coronavirus has affected the Distinguished Young Women program as it has most other events. Coordinators Suzanne Barnett and Molly Barnett have had to be creative in continuing the program at all this year.
“We did everything virtually from orientation to judges deliberations,” Suzanne said. “It was a different way for sure! … Due to Escambia County’s rising numbers of COVID-19, I could not put the girls’ health at risk and attempt to host an in-person program.”
Suzanne said some counties are moving forward with an in-person program, while others have pushed their dates out into September. Social media helped the local program this year, along with Google Meet, ZOOM, emails and texts.
“We had each girl submit their video of the following: talent, fitness and public speaking (self-expression),” Suzanne said. “Each Saturday of June, one of the videos was due. Then the videos were placed in a file and sent to the judges to score. It really ran like an in-person show. Their scores were sent to the tabulator through a secured email account.”
On June 27, the young ladies participated in their 10-minute interview with the panel of five judges through a ZOOM meeting.
Distinguished Young Women is a scholarship program, and true to its mission, area young ladies receive thousands of dollars in scholarship offers every year. A portion of that amount comes through college-granted scholarships; however, the main source of scholarship funds comes from ticket sales, program ads, program book sales. and business donations.
“With the pandemic situation, I felt that I could not ask businesses for scholarship donations,” Suzanne said. “We did have several of our ‘Has Beens’ [former DYW winners] contribute.”
Obviously, his year’s scholarship amount is much smaller than usual.
Later this month, Suzanne plans to have a Facebook Live event to showcase the contestants and present the winner.
This year, seven young ladies vie for the title. Their bios follow.

Aaliyah Bedsole

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Ryan Bedsole
High school: W.S. Neal High School
College choice: Pensacola State College
Career choice: Cosmetology
Activities / honors: Marching and Concert band; Majorette Captain; Dance: ballet, tap and jazz; class officer; FFA Floriculture; Student Government Treasurer
Talent: Lyrical dance
Selection: “You Say” by Lauren Daigle

Olivia Blackmon

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Jayson Nichols Blackmon
High school: T.R. Miller High School
Career goals: Biology Teacher and Long Distance Running coach
College choices: Mississippi College
Activities / honors: Cross Country, Track and Field, Pep Club, All-Star XC Team, Math Team, National Honor Society, Student Government Class President, Tutoring, Choir, Youth Group at Zion Hill Baptist Church
Talent: Broadway Skit
Selection: “Don’t Rain on My Parade”

Treniti Blount

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Blount, III
High school: T.R. Miller
College choice: Coastal Alabama Community College
Career choice: Nurse
Activities / honors: Peer Helper, member of T. R. Miller’s marching band
Talent: Lyrical dance
Selection: “This is What You Came for” by Calvin Harris

High school: T.R. Miller
College choice: Coastal Alabama Community College
Career choice: Nurse
Activities / honors: Peer Helper, member of T. R. Miller’s marching band
Talent: Lyrical dance
Selection: “This is What You Came for” by Calvin Harris

Ashley Bradley

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Kelvin Lavon Bradley
High school: Flomaton High School
College choices: Coastal Alabama Community College
Activities / honors: Cheerleading, FFA, 4H
Talent: American Sign Language
Selection: “Speak the Name”

Ali Dunnaway

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Ladon Yoder
High school: W.S. Neal High School
Career goals: X-ray technician
College choices: Trenholm State Technical College
Activities / honors: Cheerleader, National Honor Society, dramas, youth, cashier, Math Team, Wipeout Hunger Club
Talent: Human Video / Drama
Selection: Human Video

Bailey Jones

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Mark Edward Rodgers
High school: T.R. Miller
Career goals: Lawyer
College choices: University of Alabama or Auburn University
Activities / honors: T.R. Miller Cheerleader, T.R. Miller Track Team, National Honor Society, Waitress / Host at David’s, Spanish Club, Babysitter, TRM Diamond Dolls
Talent: Dance / tumbling

Hannah Mallory

Parents: Peter Jackson Mallory and Sherry Diana Mallory
High school: T.R. Miller High School
Career goals: psychology and theater major
College choices: University of Montevallo
Activities / honors: Acting with the Brewton Town and Gown Players, Arts Council, acting with the Greater Escambia Council for the Arts, Swim Team, singing in the school choir, singer in Front Line worship band, perform in show choir, customizing clothing / shoes, song and poetry writing, science / pep club
Talent: Theatrical song performance
Selection: “I’m Here” – “The Color Purple”