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Distinguished Young Woman 2021

Eight young women from Pearl River County will compete Saturday Feb. 1 to be named the Pearl River County Distinguished Young Woman 2021 at the Picayune Memorial High School Auditorium on Goodyear Boulevard at 6 p.m.

The competition is for high school juniors and the competitors have been preparing for months with a fitness boot camp, a food drive, interview preparation and by maintaining good grades in school, said program co-director Haley Wells.

The teens are judged on their scholastics, an interview with the judges, their individual talent, their fitness and their self-expression.

“Distinguished Young Women’s motto has always been be your best self,” said Wells. “We just try to drill into the girls, be yourself. Be your best self. Don’t try to be somebody that you think the judges want to see or hear.”

The girls can earn scholarships for winning in a category. The scholarships are funded by local businesses and ticket sales, said Wells. The county winner will represent the county in a state competition in Meridian in July.

The program will include performances from Miss Sarah’s School of Dance, Sunni’s School of Dance and Pearl River County’s 2020 Distinguished Young Woman Brienne Penton.

Wells encourages the community to come out and support the young women.

“It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of confidence to put themselves out there—especially these days where teenagers have so many eyes on them and so many of their peers with social media,” said Wells. “It just really takes a lot of courage to put themselves out there, and to get on stage, and to step out of their comfort zone.”

The competitors:

4Breanne Berthelot is a 16-year-old Pearl River Central High School student. Berthelot will perform a dance to “Brand New,” by Ben Rector for her talent.

4Hannah Brown is a 17-year-old Picayune Memorial High School student. Brown’s talent will be a performance of the monologue “Like Dreaming, Backwards” by Kellie Powell.

4Mollie Brown is a 16-year-old Poplarville High School student. For her talent, Brown will sing “Fly Me to the Moon” while accompanying herself on piano.

4Anna Carroll is a 16-year-old Pearl River Central High School student. Carroll’s talent will be a piano and voice performance of “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman.

4Emma Kennedy is a 16-year-old Pearl River Central High School student. Kennedy’s talent will be a dance performance to “Bruises” by Lewis Capaldi.

4Lauren Pfadenhauer is a 17-year-old Picayune Memorial High School student. Pfadenhauer will perform “Fur Elise” by Beethoven on piano as her talent.

4Hannah Smith is a 16-year-old Picayune Memorial High School student. For her talent, Smith will perform a contemporary dance to “Girl Behind the Mask” by Iran Bedford.

4Mya Votano is a 17-year-old Picayune Memorial High School student. Votano will showcase her archery skills as her talent.

Tickets will be $10. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show is at 6:30.