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Distinguished Young Woman Competes At State Level
Oakdales Distinguished Young Miss Amy Craig, center, at the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2016 State Finals. She is shown with Soroptimist International of Oakdale President Elect and Program Chair, Nancy Lilly, left, and SIO President Diane Ott during the event hosted in Bakersfield. Photo Contributed


Amy Craig, Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman, competed in the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2016 State Finals along with 29 other accomplished high school seniors in Bakersfield on July 24 and 25. Amy placed among the top three candidates in the Fitness category earning a $1,000 scholarship award. She was also selected by her fellow candidates for one of three Spirit Awards earning an additional $500 scholarship award.

For the Fitness category, Amy skillfully executed a choreographed high energy 10-minute routine that included both calisthenics and dance moves. In addition, she competed in the Interview, Scholastics, Talent, and Self-Expression categories. For the Interview category, Amy received a 10-minute interview by the program’s panel of judges. Her school transcript including her grades, coursework, and test scores were evaluated for the Scholastics category.

Amy performed a highly technical ballet en pointe to the Kitri Variation from Don Quixote for the Talent category and was honored for her strong performance with an invitation to perform as entertainment on finals night. Amy provided a thoughtful and heartfelt answer to the Self-Expression question regarding what she would like to remembered for years from now explaining she hoped to be remembered for her care and concern for others and commitment to help friends in need.

“Distinguished Young Women is a powerful program that leaves you feeling empowered and refreshed,” Amy, an incoming senior at Oakdale High School, said of her experience. “Throughout my time there, I realized how important it is to be yourself because what you have to offer is just as special as what the person standing next to you has.”

Attending the competition were her parents, Stephen and Pamela Craig, as well as her grandparents, dance instructor Leslie Ozbirn, Soroptimist President Diane Ott, Soroptimist President-Elect and local Program Chair Nancy Lilly, and friends.

Oakdale’s program is sponsored by Soroptimst International of Oakdale. The next local program for the Class of 2017 will be held in February 2016 and is open to junior class girls that reside in the 95361 zip code. For more information, contact Nancy Lilly, 847-6488.

Distinguished Young Women, formerly Junior Miss, is a national scholarship program which recognizes, rewards, and encourages excellence in young women. Its mission is to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership, and individual talents. The program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 730,000 young women. To date, Distinguished Young Women has awarded over $102 million in scholarships to deserving young women and $1 billion in college granted scholarships will be available for local, state, and national participants from the Class of 2016.

For more information about the scholarship program, visit For more information about Soroptimist International of Oakdale, visit


Article courtesy of Nancy Lilly, Program Chair