By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Distinguished Young Woman Title Goes To Jessica Birchall
Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2023 Jessica Birchall and Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2022 Reagan Oliveira share a smile after announcement of the title award on Saturday evening, Feb. 26.

The Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2023 program, sponsored by Soroptimist International of Oakdale, was held Saturday, Feb. 26 at Magnolia Elementary School Auditorium. Family, friends, and community members attended the showcase that featured eight junior class participants from Oakdale High School.

Oakdale High senior and Distinguished Young Woman of Oakdale for the Class of 2022 Reagan Oliveira passed her title to Jessica Birchall at the end of evening. In addition to the $2,500 scholarship for the Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2023 title award, Jessica received the Scholastics, Interview, Fitness, Talent, and Self Expression category awards totaling $1,000 as well as the $250 Community Service award. She will move on to represent Oakdale at the California Distinguished Young Women program in July to compete for an opportunity to earn additional college scholarship awards.

Scholarship awards were also presented to Kennedy Jones, Second Place ($1,500) and Spirit Award ($200); Haven Cating, Third Place ($1,000); Laura Hynes, Fourth Place ($800); and Rielly Jones, Fifth Place ($600). Also participating in the program were Brooklyn Gonzalez, Breanna Guillermo, and Jessica Zepeda.

A total of $7,850 in scholarships were awarded from donations received from the Oakdale Lions Club, Oakdale Rotary Club, Oak Valley Community Bank, Dr. Chet and Mrs. Parnima Mahida, Dr. A. Lee Scaief/Oak Valley Optometric, Drs. Jeff and Jodi Sceville, Bordona’s Furniture and Appliance, Haidlen Ford/Steves Chevrolet-Buick Oakdale New Car Dealers, Tri Counties Bank, Scenic Oaks Funding – Orval Neal, and Lenore Hawks, local resident and member of the California Distinguished Young Women Hall of Fame. Soroptimist International of Oakdale provided the title award.

The Oakdale Soroptimists would like to thank the Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Sponsors for providing the Class of 2023 scholarships. They would also like to thank the Distinguished Young Women Supporters and 2022 Soroptimist Sponsors for their generous donations that helped support this program.

In addition, the showcase included a special tribute to Pete Simoncini, who is retiring from teaching this year as well as his numerous announcing and emcee duties, including Distinguished Young Women for which he has served as Master of Ceremonies for the past 16 years. The tribute included a video featuring former Oakdale Distinguished Young Women honoring and congratulating Mr. Simoncini for teaching, mentoring, and inspiring them to be their best selves in the classroom, during their Distinguished Young Women experience, and in life.

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. Its mission is to empower young women by providing over $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, connecting with a nationwide network of women, developing their self-confidence, and participating in Life Skills Workshops that prepare them for success after high school. National sponsors include Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, Mobile County, City of Mobile, Alabama Power Foundation, Shoe Station, Gant Travel Management, the Coffeen Family, Regions Financial Corporation, Jostens and Alabama Media Group.

For more information about the Oakdale Distinguished Young Women program and/or Soroptimist International of Oakdale, contact Nancy Lilly (209) 607-7605 or visit and our Oakdale Soroptimist Facebook page.

Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2023 participants, from left, Jessica Zepeda, Rielly Jones, Jessica Birchall, Brooklyn Gonzalez, Kennedy Jones, Breanna Guillermo, Laura Hynes, and Haven Cating.
Mr. Pete Simoncini, Master of Ceremonies, with Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2023 Jessica Birchall and Class of 2022 Reagan Oliveira following his tribute and the awards ceremony.