"I'm very excited for the competition," Brown said. "I've been preparing most of the summer, working on fitness routines and on making sure my talent is really good and just trying to make sure I'm the most prepared that I can be so that I have the best chances of going into the competition and really representing Bartow County.
"I'm really looking forward to getting to know a lot of the girls in the program because it's girls from all over Georgia. We've all been through this amazing program and a lot of them are just very driven and motivated, and it's really exciting to hang out with people like that."
On July 27 and 28, Brown -- the 17-year-old daughter of Dr. Mason and Linda Brown of White -- will compete against 23 young women in the areas of fitness (15 percent of the overall score), interview (25 percent), scholastics (20 percent), self-expression (15 percent) and talent (25 percent). To be held at the Cobb Civic Center's Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, the program is a preliminary for the national competition in Mobile, Ala., where more than $130,000 in cash scholarships will be dispersed next summer.
Brown advanced to the state level after becoming the Distinguished Young Woman of Bartow County in February. Along with the title netting her a $1,300 cash scholarship, she also won several preliminary awards, increasing her total winnings to $2,100.
"What I've enjoyed most is that it's a program that pushes you to truly be your best self," Brown said. "That's the national platform and just striving to be the best that you can be, not to be anybody else or anybody else's idea of perfect but to be the very best that you can be. And that's what I love most about Distinguished Young Women because that's what it promotes in girls. Instead of saying you have to look a certain way, you have to do this a certain way, it says you be the best that you can be. ... I [also] think that this program has pushed me to excel in areas that I've never been a part of before.
"First of all, we do a fitness routine and I don't [normally] dance in anything that I do. So having to do a choreographed routine for that and for an opening number ... that puts me out of my comfort zone a little bit. But also, not just the dancing and getting outside of my comfort zone, there's a portion of the competition that's an interview. And I've been working very hard on improving my interviewing skills and that's something that will definitely benefit me for not just Distinguished Young Women but for the rest of my life because that's a skill that I will always need to use."
A rising senior at North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw, Brown maintains a 4.2 GPA while being involved in numerous activities. Some of her current and past achievements include: 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 is 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.
"Avian is a very well-rounded young woman, but her biggest strengths are in the scholastics and talent categories," said Myra Hufstetler, chairman of the Distinguished Young Women of Bartow County program. "Avian makes a big impact during her 90-second violin talent when she begins playing a classical piece 'Czardas' by Vittorio Monti and transitions into the audience favorite 'Devil Went Down to Georgia.'
"Our community really gets behind these girls and she has had several people participating in mock interviews over the last week to sharpen her interview skills. At our local competition, she won the Spirit of DYW award which speaks to how well liked Avian is by anyone who is around her. I think she is ready for the state program and will represent Bartow County very well."
Tickets for the July 27 and 28 shows, which both start at 7 p.m., will cost $20 and $25, respectively. Attendees may purchase tickets when the doors open 30 minutes prior to the performances.
For more information about the Distinguished Young Women of Bartow County program, visit www.dywbartow.wordpress.com.