Continuing Bartow County’s success in the Distinguished Young Women program, Avian Brown became the second consecutive local representative to capture a top-10 finish at the National Finals.
“When I first heard my name called as a top-10 finalist, I was just shocked in so many ways because facing that night I thought of all of the girls that I’d been able to meet over the two weeks and I just felt like there were so many other girls ... that had worked so hard,” Brown said. “There was so much talent and so many girls that had worked so hard for this. I was really honored to represent those girls in the top 10. They were very happy for me, and it was really cool to be able to represent them in that way.”
From June 27 to 29, the 18-year-old daughter of Dr. Mason and Linda Brown competed in the 56th annual America’s DYW National Finals at the Mobile Civic Center Theater in Mobile, Ala. She and the other contestants were evaluated in the areas of fitness (15 percent of overall score), interview (25 percent), scholastics (20 percent), self-expression (15 percent) and talent (25 percent).
For the talent category, she performed the classical concerto “Czardas” on the violin before transitioning into the rousing country music ballad “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Formerly known as America’s Junior Miss scholarship program, America’s DYW dispersed more than $100,000 in cash scholarships at the national contest.
Along with being a top-10 finalist, Brown also captured a preliminary interview award. Her overall performance netted her cash scholarships totaling $3,500, which increased her overall winnings to $13,500. To advance to the National Finals, Brown won the Bartow County and Georgia DYW titles in 2012. With her win last July, she became the third straight Bartow County representative — the fifth since 1958 — to claim the state medallion.
“We were real excited that she got the top 10,” said Myra Hufstetler, chairwoman of the Distinguished Young Women of Bartow County program. “... She has worked so hard on [her interview category]. She didn’t do as well in interview at the local level when she competed as she did in all the other categories. So it was something she really worked hard on at state. I know at state when she won an interview award, she said she didn’t care if she won anything else because she got that interview award. Then of course [she] won the state competition.
“... When they announced Saturday night first that she was one of the top-five interviewers, I was standing next to someone there and said, ‘She doesn’t care if she wins anything else, that girl is happy as can be right now.’ And she was. She was thrilled and all of us were thrilled because that’s such an important [skill] to know no matter what. So she did an awesome job and couldn’t have represented Bartow County any better. Even though she didn’t get other preliminary awards, she had to have been right at the top in all those categories to have made top 10.”
A 2013 graduate of North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw, she maintained a 4.303 GPA while being involved in numerous activities. Some of her past achievements included: student government vice president for the ninth and 12th grades; 2012 Georgia Certificate of Merit Award; 2012 Director’s Award for school orchestra, 11th grade; and Scholar Athlete Award for the ninth, 10th and 11th grades. She also has been involved in the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, North Cobb Christian Concert Orchestra, Tabernacle Baptist Church’s orchestra, Beta Club, Tri-M Music Society, National Honor Society, French Honor Society, varsity cross country team, varsity soccer team and Tabernacle Baptist Church’s youth group.
“I would just like to say that I’m so honored to have been able to represent both Bartow County and Georgia,” said Brown, who will attend Auburn University in the fall, majoring in international business. “I’ve been able to meet such amazing girls through our local program and through our state program and to be able to represent especially those girls who have gone through the program, again, it was an honor. So I’m really thankful for that opportunity.”