Gabrielle “Gaby” Ceja, Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman, competed in the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2018 State Finals along with 21 other rising high school seniors in Bakersfield on July 21 and 22.
The competition consisted of five categories: Scholastics, Interview, Fitness, Talent, and Self Expression. For the Scholastics category, Gaby’s high school academic record was evaluated. For the Interview category, Gaby received a 10-minute interview by the program’s panel of judges. For Fitness, Gaby skillfully executed a high-energy, choreographed 10-minute aerobic routine. Gaby sang “O Mio Babbino Caro,” a soprano aria from the opera Gianni Schicchi, for her talent presentation. For the Self Expression category, Gaby’s public speaking ability, confidence, and poise was evaluated when she thoughtfully addressed what she hoped to accomplish in her life by age 60.
Gaby and the candidates spent a total of 8 days in Bakersfield for the competition and other activities including attending a mentoring brunch with young women entrepreneurs.
Following the program, Gaby said, "The program was a genuine and wholesome experience. I learned a lot about myself by getting out of my comfort zone and becoming close with 21 girls from all over California.”
Attending the program were her parents, Tony Ceja and Tena Maree Mclane-Ceja, brother Tristan, and several friends and family members. Also attending the program were Soroptimist Immediate Past President and local Program Chair Nancy Lilly and Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman for the Class of 2017 Annalise VanderVeen who volunteered as a “Has Been” helping the candidates, performing community service, and participating in the program’s opening number.
Kimberly Marquez, Distinguished Young Woman of Bakersfield, was named California’s Distinguished Young Woman for the Class of 2018.
Oakdale’s program is sponsored by Soroptimist International of Oakdale. The next local program for the Class of 2019 will be held in March 2018 and is open to junior class girls that reside in the 95361 zip code.
For more information on the local event, please contact Nancy Lilly, 847-6488.
For more information about the scholarship program, visit www.DistinguishedYW.org. For more information about Soroptimist International of Oakdale, visit www.oakdalesoroptimist.org.