From left to right: Distinguished Young Woman of Southern Maryland 2014 Olivia Kennedy, Distinguished Young Woman of Chesapeake 2014 and Interview Winner Rebecca Olsen, Talent and Spirit Award Winner Destini Monk, Physical Fitness Winner Brelynn Hunt, and Scholastics Winner CheBreia Gibbs.
WALDORF, Md.—On February 23, the Greater Waldorf Jaycees hosted the Distinguished Young Women of Southern Maryland Scholarship Program for young women from Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's Counties. The program is an official preliminary of Distinguished Young Women of America (DYW), the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school senior females of its type.
The Distinguished Young Woman of Southern Maryland 2014 is Olivia Kristen Kennedy, a junior at Grace Christian Academy. Olivia, the daughter of John and Bobbie Kennedy, is a member of the National Honor Society, is the Historian and Public Relations Officer of the Student Government Association, and volunteers at the nursery at Grace Brethren Church. Her other activities include drama and musical productions, marching band, concert band, chapel band, show choir, and the swimming and math teams at her school. She has been on the Principal's List or High Honor roll throughout high school, has won Academic Excellence awards in Mathematics and Social Studies, the Mighty Mariner Award, the Christian Citizenship Award, and the Knight Award for "overall superior behavior and academic effort." Olivia earned a gold and silver rating in the Nurturing Abilities for Christ competition, a silver in the Discovering Christian Artists competition, earned first place in the National Teen Talent Quest for an instrumental solo, third place in the National Teen Talent Quest in classical dance, second place in the Optimist International Oratatorical, and first place in the Bands of America Regional Championship. In addition, she has also recently been nominated by her biology teacher for a National Science Award from the United States Achievement Academy. In her spare time, she enjoys Broadway singing, dancing, and acting, playing the flute, listening to music, reading, imagining, and volunteering at church with pre-schoolers. When she graduates, Olivia plans to attend Liberty University or Lewis-Clark State and pursue a career as a pediatric nurse working on a Mercy Ship.
The Distinguished Young Woman of Chesapeake 2014 is Rebecca Lynn Olsen, a junior at Thomas Stone High School, who also won the interview category of the program. Becky, the daughter of Gregory and Susan Olsen, is a member of the National Honor and Merit Scholars Society, the National Honor Society, and is the Vice President of her school's chapter of the W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society. She has earned three Presidential Volunteer Service awards, Principal's Academic Honors, Scholar Athlete Awards, Musicianship Awards, Varsity Swimming and Field Hockey Awards, and was a US Air Force-Lockheed Martin STEM 20/20 Essay finalist in 2012. Becky volunteers as a Maryland state-certified EMT with the Hughesville Volunteer Fire Department and as a Junior Jaycee with the Greater Waldorf Jaycees. She has participated in Christmas in April, Relay for Life, the Key Club, It's Academic, Mock Trial, is a Toys for Tots assistant, a Field of Dreams assistant, and a Hospice of Charles County volunteer. Her other activities include participating in the Southern Maryland Concert Band and the Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra. She is currently a swim instructor for Kids First Swim School in Waldorf and was formerly a junior swim coach for the Smallwood Village Swim Team. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with the Charlotte Hall Veterans' Home with holiday card drives, the American Heart Association, and helping with bingo and blankets at the Charles County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of La Plata. When she graduates, Becky plans to attend St. Mary's College of Maryland to pursue a career as an Emergency Room Physician.
The winner of physical fitness category of the program was Brelynn Donyae Hunt, a junior at North Point High School and the daughter of Robin and Benita Hunt. Brelynn is the STARS Leadership Committee President, the Multimedia Club President, a Student Government Class Officer, a member of the Capitol Movement Pre-Professional Dance Company, a Ballet Arts Academy Student, and performs with the North Point Modeling team. She participates in varsity volleyball and cheerleading, serves as the Class of 2014 Secretary, is a member of the STARS program, Biotechnology STI, Spring Musical Legally Blonde, and the National Leadership Forum. She attended and graduated from the National Youth Leadership Forum for Medicine, as well as Lead America for Medicine and Healthcare. She has been awarded two varsity volleyball letters, varsity and junior varsity cheerleading letters, the Minds in Motion award, is on the High Honor Roll, and is a scholar athlete. In her spare time, she enjoys ballet, contemporary, character, and point dance, volleyball, cheerleading, multimedia, acting, and modeling team. When she graduates, Brelynn plans to major in biology at a four year university and pursue a career as a Special Complication Obstetrician.
The winner of the scholastics category of the program was CheBreia DaBrenae Gibbs. CheBreia, the daughter of Maurice Gibbs, Jr. and Brenda Gibbs, is a junior at North Point High School and is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Technical Honor Society, the Key Club, the Spanish Club, and the Charles County Youth Orchestra. She is a Children's Church Youth Leader, a member of the Student Government Association, is on the varsity volleyball team, and runs track. She is a volunteer for Charles County Hospice, the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, the North Point High School Kids Trick or Trunk Event, and has played in an ensemble at the Charles County Nursing Home. CheBreia has been on the Principal's Honor Roll throughout high school, is a Scholar Athlete, has participated in All County Orchestra for three years and Tri-County Orchestra for two years. In her spare time, she enjoys playing viola, playing sports, reading, drawing, tutoring, health and wellness, and collecting Archie comic books. When she graduates, CheBreia plans to attend the University of Maryland College Park to pursue a career as an orthodontist or to work for CISCO.
The winner of the talent category of the program and the Spirit Award winner is Destini Beverly Monk. Destini, the daughter of Robert Monk, Jr. and Laurie Monk, is a junior at North Point High School and is a member of the National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Skills USA, the Student Government Association, and the Key Club. She is a volunteer with the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Hospice of Charles County, and has been a violist for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Chesapeake Choral Arts Society, and the Charles County Nursing Home. She holds 1st chair in the North Point Honors Orchestra, 1st chair in the Charles County Youth Orchestra, participates in Varsity Girls Track, and the Upper Chesapeake Summer Center for the Arts. She is on the Principal's Honor Roll, the Athletic Honor Roll, is a Scholar Athlete, and has earned an Academic Excellence Pin as well as a Varsity Letter Award. In addition, she earned 1st Chair in the All County Honors Orchestra, 5th chair in the Tri-County Honors Orchestra, received a Superior rating in the District XI Solo/Ensemble, and a Superior rating in the Maryland State Solo/Ensemble. In her spare time, Destini enjoys playing viola, modeling, track and field, English literature, listening to music, and traveling with family and friends. When she graduates, Destini plans to attend the University of Maryland College Park to pursue a career as a psychologist.
On July 13, 2013, the Distinguished Young Woman of Southern Maryland (Olivia Kennedy) and the Distinguished Young Woman of Chesapeake (Becky Olsen) will be advancing from the local program to compete in the Distinguished Young Women of Maryland Scholarship Program. The young lady selected as Distinguished Young Women of Maryland will travel to Mobile, Alabama in 2014, to participate in the DYW National Finals and compete for a share of more than $125,000 in cash scholarships and college scholarships to more than 200 colleges and universities across the nation.
The 2014 Distinguished Young Women of Maryland Scholarship Program will be held on July 13, 2013 starting at 7 p.m., and will take place at the Scott Theater at Carroll County Community College in Westminster, MD. Tickets can be charged by calling 410-876-5505, extension 102. Prior to June 15, tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students (5-17). After that, tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students.
Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Alabama, Distinguished Young Women has provided life-changing experiences for more than 200,000 young women and more than $3.3 million in cash scholarships at the National Finals alone, and more than $92 million at local, state and national programs combined. The program also works with colleges and universities across the nation to provide opportunities for participants to further their education. Program participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from nearly 200 colleges and universities, and more are coming on board each year. Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided more than $58 million in cash and college scholarship opportunities.
In addition to providing scholarships, DYW challenges each participant to share its national outreach program, Be Your Best Self (BYBS), with young people across the nation. Through BYBS, DYW encourage self esteem and excellence in all young people through the program's five principles: Be healthy, Be Involved, Be Studious, Be Ambitious, and Be Responsible.
Any young ladies who will be a junior in high school in Charles, Calvert, or St. Mary's County next year (2013-2014 school year) and are interested in finding out more about the Distinguished Young Woman of Southern Maryland Scholarship program can visit http://www.distinguishedyw.org and sign up.