Friday, July 13, 2012

Our Distinguished Young Woman

"Distinguished Young Women is a national scholarship program that inspires high school girls to develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments."

Cali decided to participate in the showcase.  All it took to prepare was:
1)  8 months of practicing Chopin's Black Key Etude for the talent portion
2) 2 months of practice for an aerobic physical fitness dance
3) months of reading current events to prepare for the interview portion
4) countless hours of shopping for an interview outfit, talent outfit, and self expression dress
5) 11 years of great grades in school!

It was so fun helping Cali prepare.  Her grandmas and I listened to her play her piano piece countless times, Nyah practiced the aerobic dance with Cali over and over again, Aaron and I quizzed her relentlessly about her family, service projects, school activities, and current events.

In the end, it came down to ONE day.  Cali drove off to the Covey Center at 8:30 a.m.  to do a practice run of the show.  She was allowed to have zero communication with her family and friends throughout the entire day.  She wasn't  interviewed by the judges until 4 p.m.  She told us later that they asked her 2 questions she did not know how to answer:
1) "Cali, what do Taylor Swift, the music group The Civil Wars, and the movie, The Hunger Games all have in common?"
Cali's favorite musical group is The Civil Wars and it turns out that Taylor Swift is featured in a song by her favorite group in The Hunger Games movie.  Who would've known?!
2) The next scary question was . . . "Michelle Obama is one of the women you respect.  Tell us about the MARS initiative."
It turns out, all Cali had to say was (this is me being sarcastic). . . "Well . . .Mars, the company behind Snickers, Twix, and M&Ms, has announced that it will be discontinuing its king-size candy bars (and any other treat that exceeds 250 calories) by 2013.The move comes at the behest of First Lady Michelle Obama. Mars is one of 16 companies in the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation who have pledged to eliminate 1.5 trillion calories by 2015, an initiative spearheaded by FLOTUS.
But, unfortunately, Cali hadn't heard of this intitiative!

Cali answered all the other questions in her interview brilliantly and left the judges smiling with her 45 second wrap up.  She said she felt pretty good about it overall.

Of course, I am biased, but I was so proud of her performances on stage.  Her piano number was beautiful, and she kept a smile on her face the entire time when asked the final question on stage:  "You told us earlier today in your interview how you have influenced your brothers and sister.  What have they taught you?"  Neither of us remember exactly what her response was, but it had something to do with being an individual, proud of who you are, and loving each other no matter what.

I am truly in awe of my daughter.  She is a great example to me of not being afraid to do uncomfortable things and shooting for the stars!  She is a brave girl.

Cali's AMAZING teacher, Bonny, came to support her at the competition.

Cali's friend, Natalie, also gets to go onto State!

Nyah was so proud of her big sister!

Louis came to support Cali.  Cali is actually wearing Louis's jewelry.

We LOVE this girl!

Cali's beautiful friend, Mendy, helped her every step of the way.   Mendy participated in Distinguished Young Women last year, won gobs of scholarships, and is the reason Cali decided to try it!

Grandma and the family got her lots of flowers.  Feel the love!

Grandma Sue and Grandma Joannie were so proud of their oldest granddaughter.

I'm going to admit that I shed some tears that night!

Uncle Caleb came out to support his niece.  He is awesome!
Cali ended up being one of the top four girls in the competition.  She won $1,000 in scholarship money and gets to go on to compete in the State Competition in February.  Congratulations, Calz!


Reuben Collins said...

Congrats all around. Is this pink dress the "self expression dress?" I'm curious to know what it expresses about her.

I'm surprised you didn't mention the swim suit competition, but it is probably best not to discuss such things publicly.

Kristin said...

Great job, Cali! I hope you get to use the same dresses, talent, and dance number in February so you can take a little break for awhile:)