As a former participant in the America’s Junior Miss program, now known as Distinguished Young Women (DYW), Andrakay Pluid is happy to give back to the program that gave her so much more than a decade ago.
“The program left an indelible mark on my life. I feel strongly that this program is a transformative experience for young women, and I volunteer as part of the program because of how firmly I believe in what the program does for young women as well as because of the impact it made on my life,” said Andrakay, who, along with Kelly Hinthorn, co-chairs this year’s DYW program, the theme of which is "Life is a Highway."
The program is a scholarship program and is judged based on five categories: interview (25 percent), scholastics (25 percent), talent (20 percent), self-expression (15 percent) and fitness (15 percent).
Last year the local DYW committee raised over $15,000 in cash scholarships—one of the highest in the state and even across the nation.
“The community is extremely generous with the program, and we could not have the caliber of program we have without that support,” said Andrakay.
There are 11 girls participating in this year’s DYW program—Serenity Fahey, Nadia Fleck, Dina Cook-Petty, Katie Summerfield, Emily Holman, Reianna Brooks, Bailey Owens, Lillian Goad, Josie Leyden, Mia Hosterman and Kylee Olson.
“The girls are involved in the Be Your Best Program, which is a tenant of the DYW Program,” said Andrakay. “It encourages participants to be active in their community through the ‘5 Bs’: Be Healthy, Be Studious, Be Involved, Be Ambitious and Be Responsible.” As part of this, they mentor other young girls in the community and also give of their time to various nonprofits in Bonners Ferry.
This year's program will be on April 27 at 6:30pm at Becker Auditorium. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, April 8, at 10 am at Mountain Mike's Health Food Store in Bonners Ferry. Tickets typically sell out, so it is important to get tickets early!