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Ceja Takes Title As Oakdales Distinguished Young Woman
Class of 2017 Distinguished Young Woman Annalise VanderVeen, left, passed the title on Saturday night to new Class of 2018 Distinguished Young Woman Gaby Ceja in a program at Magnolia Auditorium. Photo Courtesy Cindy Sipes Photography

The annual Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale program, sponsored by Soroptimist International of Oakdale, was held Saturday, March 11, at Magnolia School Auditorium. Oakdale High School senior and reigning Distinguished Young Woman Annalise VanderVeen passed her title to Gaby Ceja, a junior at Oakdale High School. In addition to the $2,500 scholarship for the title award, Gaby was awarded three $200 scholarships for the Scholastics, Interview, and Talent categories. Scholarship awards were also presented to Katie Holmes, Second Place ($1,500); Kylee Black, Third Place ($1,000); Alexa Da Rosa, Fourth Place ($800); and Natalie Verduzco, Fifth Place ($600). Alexa also received the $250 Community Service Award. Maya Guerrero received the $200 Self Expression Award and was selected by her fellow participants for the $200 Spirit Award. The remaining $200 category award scholarship was presented to Karima Ghimire for Fitness. Vienna Juarez, Breanna Morgan, and Allison Reberg also participated in the program.

A total of $7,850 in scholarships were awarded from donations received from the Oakdale Lions Club, Oakdale Rotary Club, Oak Valley Community Bank, Fran Krieger Agency - Farmers Insurance, Century 21 M&M Realty, Drs. Chet and Parnima Mahida, Dr. A. Lee Scaief, Drs. Jeff and Jodi Sceville, Valley First Credit Union, and Scenic Oaks Funding – Orval Neal. Soroptimist International of Oakdale provided the title award.

Gaby will represent Oakdale at California’s Distinguished Young Women program in July in Bakersfield for an opportunity to earn additional scholarship awards.

Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Alabama, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. During its 59 years of operation, the program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 740,000 young women. Distinguished Young Women provided more than $104 million in cash scholarships and $1.1 billion college granted scholarship opportunities to program participants at the local, state and national level. Previously known as America’s Junior Miss, the program announced its new name in June 2010.

The mission of Distinguished Young Women is to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent.


For more information about Soroptimist International of Oakdale, contact President Nancy Lilly (209-607-7605), visit, or find them on Facebook.