The 53rd Annual 2012 Soddy Daisy Distinguished Young Woman Program will be held on Saturday, April 2, 6:30 p.m.
The theme this year is A Touch of Class. Tickets are $10 and are available from any board member, contestant, Calico Florist or at the door.
The program will be held at Soddy Elementary School, 260 School St.
The Soddy Daisy Junior Miss Program was founded in 1959, one year after America’s Junior Miss was formed in 1958. At that time the Soddy Daisy Jaycees produced the program. Eventually a Jaycettes chapter was formed to help with the program. In the late 70’s the Jaycees turned the production over to the Jaycettes which eventually became the Soddy Daisy Junior Miss Board of Directors. Helen Barbeauld and Lora Lunsford are the “Co-Chairwomen” of the Board.
The Soddy Daisy Distinguished Young Woman program is a franchise of Tennessee’s Distinguished Young Woman Program which is a franchise of America’s Distinguished Young Woman Program. The Soddy Daisy Junior Miss 2011 is Kaylee Ann Disterdick.
Tennessee’s Distinguished Young Woman, Katie Brock, will compete in America’s Distinguished Young Woman in June in Mobile, Ala. Soddy Daisy’s Distinguished Young Woman will compete in the Tennessee Distinguished Young Woman held in July in Cleveland.
There will be 26 young ladies competing for the title of Soddy Daisy’s Distinguished Young Woman this year. A distinguishing characteristic of America’s Distinguished Young Woman is how participants are judged. The system was designed to evaluate the qualities and characteristics the program promotes. The same standards and format is used at the local, state, and national levels.
The competition categories are interview 25%, talent 25%, scholastics 20%, fitness 15% and self expression 15%. The program’s goal is to honor young women who excel in all these areas and to encourage
them to continue on the path of excellence by completing their educations and assuming roles of leadership in their communities and professions, thereby setting an example for other women to follow.
The scholastic category counts 20 percent in the overall score of each contestant. A separate panel of judges evaluates the scholastic information on each contestant prior to the program. They consider each girl’s grade point average, the strength of her academic program and her standardized test scores. These judges are usually school counselors, admissions personnel, and other individuals trained in evaluating academic performance. Although they work alone and do not meet the girls, they provide an essential service to the program.
Th emcee for the event will be Steve Wittler. He is a member of the Soddy Daisy Distinguished Young Woman Board of Directors. Since becoming involved in Junior Miss a few years ago, he says that it has become a very important and rewarding part of his life and that being a part of something so positive just makes you feel good. His daughter, Stefanie Wittler, was Soddy Daisy Junior Miss in 2005. Stefanie Wittler was Miss Tennessee 2009 and was awarded 2nd runner up in Miss America, January 2010.
Each current Soddy Daisy Distinguished Young Woman is invited to speak at schools, clubs and churches on the “Be Your Best Self” program. In 1987 there was an addition to America’s Distinguished Young Woman Program with its “Be Your Best Self” program. It involves these distinguished young women reaching out to young people through personal appearances. Because they are positive role models, the Distinguished Young Woman are often asked by various organizations especially elementary and middle schools, to make personal appearances. The “Be Your Best Self” program gives them the opportunity to approach each appearance with a definite mission and message. It is a personalized message, stressing the importance of incorporating five elements into one’s life - Be Healthy, Be Involved, Be Studious, Be Ambitious, and Be Responsible. Distinguished Young Women are using the “Be Your Best Self” program as a platform from which to deliver that message.
The Soddy Daisy Board of Directors raises the funds each year to pay for the scholarships it awards. Proceeds from the program tickets and program book advertising are the primary means of raising scholarships. Currently they award $3,900 each year in scholarships.
A tradition of the Soddy Daisy Distinguished Young Woman program is the mother-daughter brunch combined with the contestant cooking contest. This luncheon is usually held in February at a local venue. Each young lady submits a breakfast or brunch item. The winner of the $100 award is announced program night. The current Distinguished Young Woman’s mother speaks from a Mother’s perspective to the group. After the judging, everyone enjoys eating all the food.
America’s Junior Miss was founded in 1958 and is the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school senior girls. It has helped thousands of girls pay for their educations and pursue their ambitions. Over 700,000 young women have competed at the local, state and national levels. More than $33 million in scholarship opportunities are available each year. Since 1958, AJM has awarded scholarships worth more than $90 million at the Annual AJM National Finals in Mobile, Ala.