By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mattos claims coveted DYW title, medallion
Oakdale’s 2025 Distinguished Young Woman Madison Mattos, left, is all smiles after receiving a bouquet of flowers and the coveted DYW medallion from 2024 honoree, Grace Miller. Marg Jackson/The Leader

Under a brilliant full moon that rose into the night sky, the Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2025 program took to the stage on Saturday evening, Feb. 24. Sponsored by Soroptimist International of Oakdale, the event was hosted at Magnolia School Auditorium. Family, friends, and community members attended the showcase that featured eight junior class participants from the Oakdale High and Oakdale Charter schools.

At evening’s end, Oakdale High senior and Distinguished Young Woman of Oakdale for the Class of 2024 Grace Miller passed her title to Madison Mattos. The honor for Mattos included a $2,500 scholarship for the Distinguished Young Women of Oakdale Class of 2025 title award. She also earned the Scholastics and Community Service awards for an additional $450 in scholarship awards. She will move on to represent Oakdale at the California Distinguished Young Women competition in July for an opportunity to earn additional college scholarships.

“Wonderful, it’s just so exciting, I’m just so excited for this next year being DYW and it’s just so great, this moment,” an overwhelmed Mattos shared after receiving the title and having Miller present her with the DYW medallion.

She also said the experience – from practices to the actual Saturday night program – was one not to be missed.

“I was able to make such great connections with all these girls; I mean, we’re all just so talented and beautiful and intelligent in every way,” Mattos added. “I’m just so thankful to be part of something with these wonderful girls and it has just been so fun.”

Scholarship awards were also presented to Emma Weber for Second Place ($1,500) as well as the Fitness ($200), and Talent ($200) category awards; the crowd wowed by her interpretive dance number in the talent category. Leah Sales received Third Place ($1,000) and the Self Expression Award ($200). Jordan Birchall received Fourth Place ($800). Maddy Hammond received Fifth Place ($600) and the Interview Award ($200). Memphislynn Carr received the Spirit Award – voted on by the participants themselves – and a $200 scholarship. Also participating in the program were Kimberly Espinoza Belmonte and Montserrat Garcia.

A total of $7,850 in scholarships were awarded from donations received from the Oakdale Lions Club, Oakdale Rotary Club, Oak Valley Community Bank, Dr. Chet and Mrs. Parnima Mahida, Dr. A. Lee Scaief/Oak Valley Optometric, Drs. Jeff and Jodi Sceville, Bordona’s Furniture and Appliance, Haidlen Ford/Steves Chevrolet-Buick Oakdale New Car Dealers, Eder Hernandez and Nicholas White of Edward Jones Investments, Orval Neal, and Steve and Terri Taylor. Soroptimist International of Oakdale provided the title award.

Soroptimist President Pam Benziger said from the musical numbers and dance routines designed to entertain the crowd to the interviews done during the day prior to the showcase, the eight participants gave it all they had.

“Every year I am so impressed with the group of girls,” Benziger said. “Just to see how much they grew closer as a unit and just as individuals, it’s always magical, it’s just amazing.”

The Oakdale Soroptimists offered their thanks to the Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Sponsors for providing the Class of 2025 scholarships. They also thanked the Distinguished Young Women Supporters and 2024 Soroptimist Sponsors for generous donations that helped support the program.

“I wish more girls would participate, I really feel like it’s such a great experience for them,” Benziger added, praising this year’s group for “stepping outside their comfort zone” and becoming empowered by the experience.

The showcase was directed by Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman for the Class of 2016 Amy Craig and Quinn Gagos, Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Women Class of 2015 Second Place finalist, served as emcee.


Leader Editor Marg Jackson contributed to this story.

The eight participants in this year’s Distinguished Young Women program performed an energetic routine for the audience at the Magnolia Elementary School auditorium for the Saturday night program. Madison Mattos earned the title for 2025. Marg Jackson/The Leader