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Distinguished Title Awarded To Yang
Participants in the 2018 Distinguished Young Women program hosted on Saturday evening surround winner Shannen Yang, front and center, following the conclusion of the competition. Over $7,800 in scholarship awards were presented. - photo by Photo Courtesy Cindy Sipes Photography

The annual Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale program, sponsored by Soroptimist International of Oakdale, was hosted Saturday, March 10 at Magnolia School Auditorium. Oakdale High School senior and reigning Distinguished Young Woman Gabrielle Ceja passed her title to Shannen Yang, a junior at Oakdale High School.

In addition to the $2,500 scholarship for the title award, Yang was also awarded a $200 scholarship for the Scholastics category. Scholarship awards were also presented to Bianca Sams, Second Place ($1,500) and Fitness ($200); Grace Buzzini, Third Place ($1,000) and Talent ($200); Natalie Williams, Fourth Place ($800); and Jean Pagaduan, Fifth Place ($600), Interview ($200), and Self Expression ($200). Misha Mistry received the $250 Community Service Award. Bethany Metcalfe was selected by her fellow participants for the $200 Spirit Award. Also participating in the program were Danni Bench, Alexandra Casillas, Adrienne Ferreira, Chloe Liekhus, and Erika Nichols.

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

Yang will now go on to 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 60 years of operation, the program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 750,000 young women. Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided almost $1.5 billion in cash and college scholarship opportunities to program participants at the local, state and national level.

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