Hart prepares for 2020 state DYW program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 1, 2020

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Ella Hart is preparing for the chance of a lifetime. Joining girls from all over the state, the Escambia County Distinguished Young Woman will compete in the DYW program Friday, Jan. 17- Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020.

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. It has provided life-changing experiences for more than 765,000 young women across the country and more than $108 million in cash scholarships at the local, state and national levels. In addition to cash scholarships, Distinguished Young Women participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from over 100 colleges and universities.

Excited for the event, Hart has been preparing all year. “I have maintained a healthy lifestyle, stayed up-to-date on current events, and enjoyed my senior year,” said Hart.

Rooming with three other county representatives, Hart recently met the other contestants at the state orientation.

Looking back on the experience, Hart shared, “I was nervous at first, but once I walked in the door, I was greeted with smiles. The experience only got better from there. Although, individual fitness did wear all of us out towards the end.”

At the local level, Hart placed first in both the interview and scholastic categories, and won the “Be Your Best Self,” essay contest. At state, Hart will perform a lyrical routine to, “Wind Beneath My Wings,” by Bette Midler.

Thankful for her title and new role, the DYW program holds a special place in Hart’s heart. “I’ve enjoyed the support from everyone and removing misconceptions about the program being a pageant as it is a scholarship opportunity for young women to improve themselves, others, and their communities,” explained Hart. Representing the county on the state level, Hart is grateful for the opportunity. “I cannot wait to meet different girls from all over the state and build new friendships,” concluded Hart.

Currently, Hart is a senior at T.R. Miller High School. She is the 2019-2020 majorette captain, girl state delegate, and southern pine youth tour representative to name a few accolades.

The Escambia County DYW program will host a good luck party days before Hart leaves for the weeklong event on Jan. 10. The state program will be held at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.