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Lowery named Distinguished Young Woman

The first Distinguished Young Women of Lincoln County programput on a production Sunday fit for primetime television and gaveaway more than $20,000 in cash and prizes to the program’scontestants and volunteers.

This year’s winner, Emily Lowery, wowed the judges enough toscore higher than the 13 other girls in the competition. Lowerysaid she had been preparing to be a leader her whole life, but nineweeks for just her first contest of this sort.

“I was overwhelmed and so excited,” she said. “All the girls Icompeted with are amazing. It’s an honor to be chosen out of thisgroup of girls.”

Lowery added that this would be the only contest like this forher, but said she would recommend the program for everyone.

In addition to being the overall winner, Lowery placed first inthe self-expression and talent category. For her talent, Lowerybelted out a strong vocal of “Ave Maria” by Gounod, which is a songthat was played at her Baptism and parents’ wedding.

This year’s winner said one of the best aspects of the contestwas meeting all the girls from her area, adding that the experiencewould not be the same without them.

Lowery’s mother, Celeste Lowery, commented on how she rode thesame emotional roller coaster ride as her daughter, and the programwas a family fair. However, she admitted they were not a pageantfamily.

“Very much a mother-daughter experience,” said Celeste Lowery.”She works the hardest. What my children do, I support 100percent.”

Spectators were treated to a night filled of singing, dancingand jokes.

The event comprised of more than 100 Lincoln County youth in aprogram that Distinguished Young Women Director Lorin Lewisconsiders the best they have ever had. The Distinguished YoungWoman program was previously known as the Junior Miss program.

“The key to the success of our program is the support of ourcommunity,” said Lewis, “We have over 150 volunteers.”

Lewis also said this year was the first time the program hadsinging and a performance troupe, which she thought helpedcontribute to its success.

The young women were evaluated in five categories: scholastics,interview, talent, fitness and self-expression to decide thisyear’s top contestants. Other top-ranking contestants were FourthAlternate Maggie Smith, Third Alternate Kathryn Howell, SecondAlternate Terah Winborne, and First Alternate Ashley Stephens.

The show is more than just a competition; it teaches the youngwoman valuable life skills, said Lewis, who has been a part of theprogram for 26 years.

“They learn how to express themselves intellectually and makedecisions,” she said.