Twenty-three rising seniors from across Georgia competed for a share of $13,000 in cash scholarships at the 57th annual state finals for the Distinguished Young Women of Georgia scholarship program. Distinguished Young Women is a national scholarship program that inspires girls to develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments.
In addition to providing scholarships, DYW challenges each participant to share its national outreach program, Be Your Best Self (BYBS), with young people across the nation. The program is used to encourage self-esteem and excellence in all young people through the program’s five principles: Be Healthy, Be Involved, Be Studious, Be Ambitious, and Be Responsible.
The first runner-up, Jolene Yao of Baldwin County, received a $1,500 cash scholarship. Logan Garrett of Laurens County was the second runner-up and received a $1,000 cash scholarship.
Preliminary interview winners were Megan Beckett of Oconee County and Bronte Joseph of Milledgeville. Each received a $300 cash scholarship. Grace Wolverton of Upson County received the overall interview award and a $400 cash scholarship.
Preliminary talent winners were Nicolette Mantica of Lee County and Elizabeth Bourque of Houston County. Each received a $300 cash scholarship. Inaba received the overall talent award and a $400 cash scholarship.
Preliminary fitness winners were Christine Kennedy of Thomaston and Lauren Horvat of Newnan. Each received a $300 cash scholarship. Logan Gibbs of Laurens County received the overall fitness award and a $400 cash scholarship.
Preliminary self-expression winners were Megan Beckett of Oconee County and Vanessa Boone of Fayette County. Each received at $300 cash scholarship. Inaba received the overall self-expression award and a $400 cash scholarship.
Preliminary scholastic winners were Christina Onuaha of Clayton County and Nicolette Mantico of Lee County. Each received a $300 cash scholarship. Inaba received the overall scholastic award and a $400 cash scholarship.
Inaba received $6,200 in cash scholarships in addition to other full-tuition scholarships made available to state Distinguished Young Women winners from universities throughout the nation. She will represent Georgia in the Distinguished Young Women national finals in Mobile, Alabama, next June, where she will have the opportunity to win a share of more than $150,000 in cash scholarships. Brooke Rucker of Bartow County is the class of 2014 Distinguished Young Woman of America.
Inaba is a rising senior at Woodland High School where she serves as the drum major for 220 band members. In the Wind Symphony, Inaba is the first chair flute, and she also a member of the Region Champion Woodland High School Girls Trio. She has attended All-State Honor Band, Chorus, and Sightreading Chorus, in addition to participating in District Honor Band and Chorus. She received the Martha Cline Award as the Most Dedicated Band Member, and was the Region Literary Champion for Girls Solo. This summer, she spent four weeks as a vocal major at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, in addition to attending the University of Georgia’s Music Leadership workshop. Inaba serves as the president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and is the Secretary of Partnerships for Success. She is a member of the Beta Club, CAT PAWS (Peers Assisting Woodland Students), and Math Cats. Inaba was honored as a member of school’s Homecoming Court and was named the Most Friendly Band Member.
The Distinguished Young Women of Georgia Class of 2015 included: Ononakachi Mbagwu of Austell, Jolena Yao of Baldwin County, Abbie Maynard of Catoosa County, Cassidy Starling of Cherokee County, Christina Onuoha of Clayton County, Samantha Blake of Cobb County, Savannah Emerich of Coweta County, Garner Gay of Dublin, Vanessa Boone of Fayette County, Marianna Gibson of Gordon County, Katherine Johnson of Gwinnett County, Eleanor Queen of Hancock County, Elizabeth Bourque of Houston County, Emma Hawthorne of Jones County, Logan Gibbs of Laurens County, Madison Antinazi of Lawrenceville, Nicollete Mantica of Lee County, Lexi Anthony of Leesburg, Bronte Joseph of Milledgeville, Lauren Horvat of Newnan, Megan Beckett of Oconee County, Christine Kennedy of Thomaston, and Christina Wolverton of Upson County.