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DYW participants near selection night

When the curtain comes up on the 2020 Pike County Distinguished Young Women program Saturday night at the Claudia Crosby Theater, the judges are going to have an extremely difficult decision to make.

Candice Howard-Shaughnessy, program coordinator, said all six program participants are amazing young women and any one of them would be an outstanding representative of Pike County.

The participants in the 2020 Pike County DYW program are Quarissa Caffie, Pike County High School; Sarah Elizabeth Calhoun, Pike Liberal Arts School; Hannah Huner, Charles Henderson High School; Porter Lankford, PLAS; Isabel Robledo, PLAS; and Sydney Watson, CHHS.

“Each has all of the qualities of a DYW,” Howard-Shaughnessy said. “They are smart; they are talented; they are leaders in their schools and their communities. They truly are distinguished young women.”

But on Saturday night, one among the six will be chosen to represent Pike County as its 2020 Distinguished Young Woman.

“I’m just glad I’m not a judge,” Howard-Shaughnessy said with a smile.

On Thursday, the DYW participants visited the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, which was the last community activity before they focus entirely on the events of the DYW Program Saturday.

Earlier in the week, they visited the Troy Public Library and chose books to read to the children at local daycare centers and also visited the Johnson Center for the Arts.

Following the tour of the pioneer museum Thursday morning, the DYW participants looked back on the week’s activities and ahead to the “big night.”

“For me, this week has been an opportunity to meet new people and visit new places and learn more about the community,” Sydney said. “I’ve learned a lot; it’s been fun.”

Quarissa and Hannah said, too, that meeting new people and learning more about the community are the things that stand out.

For Sarah Elizabeth, the experience has meant stepping out of her comfort zone and into the public eye.

Meeting new people and stepping back and seeing things in a new way are the opportunities that Isabel said have been so enlightening.

And, in chorus, the DYW participants answered a resounding, “Yes!” when asked if they are nervous about going on stage Saturday night. To a one, they said they would encourage others to be DYW participants.

Howard-Shaughnessy said working with the participants throughout the week has been a joy.

“I wish them all the best” she said. “I know they will all do their best.”

The 2020 Pike County DYW Program will be at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Claudia Crosby Theater on the campus of Troy University. Tickets are $10. Children five and under will be admitted free. Tickets will be available at the door.