Garmeson scores honor at state DYW
Escambia County Distinguished Young Woman Ryan Garmeson brought home the top scholastic honor in the weekend’s state competition.
Garmeson, a T.R. Miller senior and the band’s drum major, was among 50 candidates tying for the title of Alabama’s Distinguished Young Women during the three-day event in Montgomery where the high-achieving high school seniors competed in the categories of fitness, talent and self-expression to win thousands of dollars in scholarship money.
The contestants are also judged on their interview skills and scholastic performance, which is where Garemson – a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist – excelled.
Garmeson said she enjoyed her experience at state.
“We went up on Friday and I met my host family, who were all really nice,” she said. “I liked it. They had a get-together with some pizza and some caffeine. We met some of the other girls before hand. I am not super social, so I was pretty shy. I sat in the corner and listened to everybody. Nobody made us feel left out.”
But, when competition began the next day, it was a different story, Garmeson said.
“The next day I thought I was going to die,” she said with a laugh. “We had the whole day of learning routines. That was really miserable, and then there were the pushups. It wasn’t awful. I survived. We had another get together that night at Jim-N-Nicks. That was something to get excited about it.”
Garmeson said she expected to be overwhelmed by the experience.
“I am not in to being around people all the time, but it was actually pretty cool,” she said. “It was just fun to see all the different types of people that are in this program. They had everyone from me, who was laid back and likes to chill, to girls who were all about the dancing – and there were some about the environment and some all about politics. It was kind of cool to meet all the types of people. I expected it to be all just a lot of dancers.”
Garmeson said there was a big feeling of camaraderie among the contestants.
“Everyone was pretty willing to help everyone,” she said. “Overall it was a good experience. It was so much fun. Everyone was friendly, and I met some new friends. I just had a really good time. If I could do it again, I probably would.”
Russell County’s DYW Bria Kalpen was chosen as the state’s 2015 DYW.
Garmeson earned a $1,000 scholarship for her night’s win. Before the state competition, Garmeson’s scholarship total hovered at more than $150,000. She said she plans to attend Texas A&M University and pursue an engineering degree.
“In fact, I’m going (to the university) after this week for an audition for the Fighting Texas A&M Aggie band,” she said. “I am looking to go into mechanical, nuclear petroleum engineering right now. I think I want to go into more of the physics side of it. A&M has a lot of good internship opportunities. That is part of the reason I want to go there.”
After graduation, Garmeson plans to “find me a big city, an apartment and then find something to do with my life. I might get a cat. I love cats.”
Garmeson is the daughter of Erin Garmeson of Brewton and Johnny Abrams of Huntsville. She also serves as the captain of the TRM scholar’s bowl and enviro bowl teams and is a National Honor Society and math team member.