Jamah Wilkerson shook with excitement Saturday night as she greeted family members, friends and fellow competitors.
“It’s still trying to sink in,” she said after being named the 2013 Jackson County Distinguished Young Woman on Saturday night. “It’s nerve-racking, but I’m ready to prepare for state.”
On top of having the opportunity to proceed to state competition, Wilkerson, a senior at Brownstown Central High School, was awarded a $2,400 cash scholarship.
Prizes for the Jackson County competition were comprised of donations from local families and businesses.
The Distinguished Young Women program is part of the largest scholarship program in the nation, chairperson Blake Hackman of Brownstown said. High school seniors are judged on self-expression, an interview, talent, physical fitness and scholastic achievements.
During the program, the young women perform a fitness routine and a talent for an audience as well as judges before answering a question to demonstrate self-expression.
Scholastic achievements and the interview are judged before the final program, which was staged at Brownstown Central High School.
Hackman said the program has benefits outside of earning scholarships. He said the girls build in character while having the opportunity to bond with other young women they may not have had the chance to meet.
“It is definitely a confidence builder,” Hackman said. “Any time you can get interviewing skills, it’s invaluable.”
By winning the Jackson County competition, Wilkerson will participate in the state competition in February for the opportunity to proceed to a national competition in the summer of 2013.
Wilkerson said she and her opponents practiced hard, but the hard work paid off. She said the encouragement she had from friends and family helped her.
“I pushed myself further, and everyone believed in me,” she said.
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