Pike County’s DYW reception on Sunday

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A send-off reception will be held for Pike County’s Distinguished Young Woman Caylee Sanders from 2 until 4 p.m. Sunday at the home of Candi Shaughnessy at 205 West College Street in Troy. Everyone is invited to attend in support of Pike County’s representative in this prestigious event.

Sanders will compete along with 47 other contestants in the state DYW program on Jan. 17 and 18 in Montgomery.

Sanders, a senior at Goshen High School, said that, although it might seem a little “teenish,” she is excited to meet and get to know the other DYW contestants from across the state.

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“What I’m most nervous about is being away from my family for nine days and how I will live without my cell phone,” Sanders said. “And, another thing is not being able to have contact with my family or friends for all that time. I’m a real homebody. This experience will help me grow as a young adult. It will be a big step for me.”

Sanders said that she has met her host family and described Kit and Gail Brendle as “cool.”

“Most of the families host two girls but I was fortunate. There are three of us,” Sanders said. “One of my roommates is Mallory Jones from Crenshaw County. I already knew Mallory and we are friends. Our other roommate is Tayler Mazingo from Chilton County. I know that we’re going to have girly social fun.”

Preparing for the two-day competition will keep the DYW contestants busy and Sanders said that staying busy is the best antidote for homesickness.

“I’ll probably get homesick a little but, if I’m busy, I won’t have much time to think about home,” Sanders said.

The talent category of the DYW program will be an opportunity for Sanders to show what a difference a few years can make.

“For my talent, I’m doing a dance, ‘I Wanna Be a Rockette,’” Sanders said. “It will be an 18-year-old’s version of the dance that I first did when I was nine years old. But, I’m looking forward to everything we’ll do at the state DYW program. It’s going to be an experience that I’ll always remember.”

So far, as Pike County’s DYW, Sanders’ duties have been limited, but she has participated in a couple of parades.

“I hope to have opportunities to go to the different schools and talk to the girls about the DYW program,” she said. “Years ago, my cousin was in, what was then, the Junior Miss Program. I knew right then that, one day, I would like to be Pike County’s Junior Miss.” Sanders said that not as many young women compete for the title of DYW as in years past.

“I think one reason is that girls just don’t know enough about the program,” she said. “I want them to know about it so that the program will grow.”

As a high school senior, Sanders stays busy with her studies and her duties as office assistant at GHS. She also serves as captain of the varsity cheerleaders and president of the Key Club.

Her future plans are tentative right now but she plans to attend Troy University. She’s not sure about her major but she is sure that she will be involved in theater and dance.