Castillo discusses DYW state competition

By Tyler Hargett for the FCT

The 2017 Distinguished Young Women of Alabama Program is over, but it is an experience Franklin County representative Ana Castillo will remember forever.

The DYW state progam was held at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery Jan. 20-21. Each contestant competed for scholarships and the opportunity to represent the state as the Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama for 2017.

Castillo and the 47 other young women arrived in Montgomery Jan. 13 to begin training for the upcoming competition. While there, each contestant stayed with a host family and had a fellow DYW candidate as a roommate for the week.

While the week consisted of plenty of practice, the girls also got to visit some local attractions, talk with students at St. James Elementary about the DYW’s Be Your Best Self message and have lunch with the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and the Kiwanis Club.

During the competition, each contestant competing for the state title was evaluated by a panel of five judges on interview, scholastics, fitness, talent and self-expression. The first preliminary was held Friday, where Castillo participated in the fitness and self-expression categories. The second preliminary was held Saturday afternoon, where she participated in talent, and the eight finalists were announced. That night, those eight competed in the finals, and scholarship winners were announced.

Castillo was selected to compete in August 2016 through the Northwest Alabama Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Program. Though she did not win the title or any scholarships, Castillo remains thankful for the overall experience.

“There was definitely stress, but it was a very fun experience,” she said. “I think my favorite part about it was meeting so many other girls from different parts of Alabama and becoming so close with them. We weren’t able to use our phones, so we were always talking.”

The winner of the Alabama Program was Shelby County’s Claire Kendrick, who will compete in the 60th Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile June 29-July 1.

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