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Distinguished Young Women program takes stage on Saturday
oak DYW

Eight candidates will take the stage on Saturday night, Feb. 24 for the annual Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale program. The event will begin at 7 p.m., and will be staged at the Magnolia Elementary School Auditorium. Oakdale High School senior Grace Miller currently holds the title of Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman for the Class of 2024.

Program participants are from Oakdale High and Oakdale Charter School’s Class of 2025. Featured in the Feb. 14 issue were Kimberly Espinoza Belmonte, Jordan Birchall, Memphislynn Carr, and Montserrat Garcia. This week, we profile Madelyn Hammond, Madison Mattos, Leah Sales, and Emma Weber. Photos of the participants were provided courtesy of Antoinette Ryun.

Tickets to the Distinguished Young Woman program are $15 for adults and $6 for children and students and may be purchased at the event. The doors will open for tickets and seating at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Nancy Lilly at 209-607-7605 or E-mail


Maddy Hammond

With an interest in ocean conservation, following graduation from Oakdale Charter School, Maddy would like to attend California State University, Monterey Bay to study marine conservation. Maddy aspires to one day work for “4Ocean”, a company whose main goal is to reduce plastic and trash in our oceans. In addition to her studies, Maddy is active in the Drama Club and Show Choir at Oakdale High School. Her community service activities include volunteering for Love Oakdale, placing wreaths on Veterans’ graves for the Wreaths Across America project, serving at Shelter Cove Community Church, and helping with Oakdale Enrichment Society’s Community Closet events. Maddy enjoys hiking, theatre, listening to music, Bible study, and journaling in her free time. Supporting Maddy in all of her endeavors are her mother Teresa and brother Jackson.


Madison Mattos

With a love for animals, Madison would like to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara and then transfer to Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine to study to become a veterinarian following graduation from Oakdale High School. Madison is active on the OHS campus serving as Service Club Secretary, California Scholarship Federation Vice President, CLEP (College Level Examination Program) Treasurer, and School Site Council Student Representative. Madison has also played volleyball and earned the Most Improved Player award. Madison is a Tech Trek Science Camp alumni, a writer for Teens Connect the World, and takes piano and singing lessons. She has received the Kiwanis Hope of America Award, was selected as Oakdale’s RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) participant, Poetry Out Loud local finalist, and won First Place in the 24th Annual Poetry Anthology. Madison is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and has received her Academic Block O. Her community service activities include volunteering with the Astro Foundation since freshman year, assisting with a Without Permission gala, as well as Upwards Sports and Oakdale School District’s summer volleyball camps. Madison has also helped with a church nativity scene set up and at local events such as Love Oakdale, the Oakdale rodeo parade, and canned goods collections. Madison enjoys reading and writing, musical theatre and film, traveling, watching her boyfriend play basketball, educating herself on environmental issues, and helping animals/wildlife. Encouraging Madison in all of her endeavors is her mother Cindy Mattos.


Leah Sales

After graduating from Oakdale High School, Leah would like to attend Point Loma Nazarene University to study business and earn real estate and entrepreneurship degrees. At OHS, Leah plays volleyball and received the Most Improved Player Award for her efforts. She is also a member of the swim team and holds the school record for the 50-yard breaststroke event. Also on campus, Leah serves on the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) Board responsible for communications for the club. She also serves as an Executive Board Member for the Service Club. Leah’s community service activities include volunteering for the Oakdale Rescue Mission, her church, the OHS Service Club, and she has served as a volleyball coach and referee. In her free time, Leah enjoys playing the piano and ukulele, painting and drawing, photography, and traveling. Supporting Leah in all that she does are her parents Jeff and Valerie Sales and siblings Grace and Landon.


Emma Weber

Following graduation from Oakdale High School, Emma would like to attend the University of Arizona to earn a degree in liberal studies with a career goal of becoming a teacher. At OHS, Emma participates on the track team and has made the honor roll for her academic achievements. Outside of school, Emma takes dance classes and has received scholarship awards at dance competitions for her hard work and effort. In her free time, Emma enjoys wake surfing, wakeboarding and snow skiing as well as music and dance. Encouraging Emma in all of her endeavors are her parents Kevin and Suzanne Weber and siblings Grant, Glen, Tyler, and Cody.


Soroptimist International of Oakdale has sponsored this scholarship program for the past 36 years.

The participants will compete in five categories: Scholastics, Talent, Fitness, Interview, and Self Expression for the Distinguished Young Woman of Oakdale title as well as category and other scholarship awards. The participant selected as Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman will go on to compete in the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2025 program this summer.

The program will also showcase last year’s participants including Hannah Haas, Taylor Hay, Hazel Hunter, Kaci Jericoff, Amiyah Lemos, Madison McDonald, Danielle Sandoval-Bautista, Ximena Record, Jenna Sanders, and Brooke Wheat, in addition to Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman Grace Miller.

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. The Soroptimist 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, Master Boat Builders, Gant Travel Management, Regions Financial Corporation, John Cauley Jeweler, Jostens and Alabama Media Group.

For more information about Distinguished Young Women, contact Tara Principe, National Headquarters Marketing and Communications Director, at 251-438-3621 or or visit For more information about Soroptimist International of Oakdale, Email or visit their Oakdale Soroptimist Facebook and Instagram social media pages.