By MIKE CHAIKEN
A young woman from Bristol is hoping to become America’s next “Distinguished Young Woman.”
Jaymie Bianca, a recent graduate of St. Paul Catholic High School and a soon-to-be freshman at Trinity College in Hartford, will be in Mobile, Ala. to participate in the scholarship competition, which was previously known as American Junior Miss. Bianca will be representing Connecticut in the event, squaring off against 50 young women, who represent the other 49 states and Washington D.C.
Bianca, before she took a road trip down south with her family, said the Distinguished Young Women scholarship competition judges high school senior girls on five components, interview, scholastics, business, talent, and self-expression.
Although the event is similar to a pageant, Bianca—who has competed in Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen and was crowned in the Junior Miss Southington pageant—said the Distinguished Young Women competition is all about scholarships.
“You don’t have to be an overall winner to get scholarships,” said Bianca. One can be a state winner or just a participant to earn a scholarship through the Distinguished Young Women. Some scholarships will provide full-tuition and some may even offer full tuition and board.
“It’s an incredible opportunity,’ said Bianca.
Her experience in pageants in Connecticut inspired Bianca to apply to be part of the Distinguished Young women competition as a high school senior. She also said the DYW emphasis on service and scholarship represented the best parts of what she enjoyed when she held previous titles.
As part of the Distinguished Young Women organization, Bianca is promoting the national platform of “Be Your Best Self.” Locally, she said she was able to work with seventh graders in Hartford to convey the importance being true to who you are. If she is crowned as the national title holder, Bianca will be expected to bring that platform to the nation at venues such as local Boys and Girls Clubs and other community-based organizations that serve youth.
Prior to the commencement of the competition in Mobile, Bianca said the contestants will participate in a variety of events within the community. For instance, they will offer a performance for residents of Mobile. They also have all been assigned a Girl Scout troop to network with, said Bianca.
“There will be a lot of really cool and interesting community events,” said Bianca.
The national finals will be held June 29, 30, and July 1. And Bianca said she already has been in contact with the other contestants via social media.
“They all have great accomplishments (in school or within the community),” said Bianca of the other competitors. “I can’t wait to talk with them and network with them and hopefully they’ll inspire me as well.”
Win or lose, said Bianca, “When I come back to Connecticut I’ll be stronger and well aware of who I am and where I want to be in the future.”.
For more information about the Distinguished Young Women organization, go to http://distinguishedyw.org/
To view the live webcast of the Distinguished Young Women National Finals, visit www. DistinguishedYW.org Thursday through Saturday, June 29 through July 1 at 8 p.m. EST.
To see photos of participants during their time in Mobile, Ala., visit www. fpvision.com