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State Competition Experience For Oakdale DYW VanderVeen
Flanking Oakdales Distinguished Young Woman Annalise VanderVeen are her parents, Reese and Yvonne VanderVeen, shown with her at the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2017 State Finals. Photo Contributed

Annalise VanderVeen, Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman, competed in the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2017 State Finals along with 27 other accomplished high school seniors in Bakersfield on July 22 and 23.

The competition consisted of five categories: Scholastics, Interview, Fitness, Talent, and Self Expression. For the Scholastics category, Annalise’s school transcript including grades, coursework, and test scores were evaluated. For the Interview category, she received a 10 minute interview by the program’s panel of judges. For Fitness, Annalise skillfully executed a high energy, choreographed 10-minute routine that included both calisthenics and dance moves. She sang “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie” for her Talent presentation. For Self-Expression, Annalise provided a thoughtful answer for what she would like her legacy to be that included helping those less fortunate and noting, among other things, her work with the homeless in the San Francisco Tenderloin area.

Annalise and the other candidates spent 10 days in Bakersfield preparing for the competition. They also attended other activities including a mentoring brunch with young women entrepreneurs and performed community service at KidFest helping ensure children had a fun and safe experience.

The incoming senior at Oakdale High School said of her experience, “I am so grateful for everyone who made the Distinguished Young Women program happen both locally and at the state level. It is truly a fantastic and memorable learning experience that has helped me in so many ways. DYW has been nothing but beneficial to me. Thank you all!”

Attending the competition were her parents, Reese and Yvonne VanderVeen, sister Erika VanderVeen, Aunt Deb Westerik, Soroptimist President and local Program Chair Nancy Lilly, and Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman for the Class of 2016 Amy Craig, who volunteered as a “Has Been” helping the candidates, performing community service, and participating in the program’s opening number.

Catherine Liang, Distinguished Young Woman of Sonoma County, was named California’s Distinguished Young Woman for the Class of 2017.

Oakdale’s program is sponsored by Soroptimst International of Oakdale. The next local program for the Class of 2018 will be held in March 2017 and is open to junior class girls that reside in the 95361 zip code. For more information, contact Nancy Lilly, 847-6488.

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