BONNERS FERRY — “Life is a Highway.” This was the theme for this year’s Distinguished Young Women competition, and the audience was transported across the country on Route 66 as it wove through the whole show, culminating in Katie Summerfield being named the 2019-2020 Distinguished Young Woman.
The evening began with our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” sung by Jerzie Pluid, Distinguished Young Woman, 1st Runner Up, 2018-2019, followed by an invocation by Boundary County Chaplain Len Pine.
Pluid and Distinguished Young Woman 2nd Runner Up 2018-2019, Ashley Guttin, partnered with the Mistress of Ceremonies, Kris Crocker, chief meteorologist from KXLY.
“There is nothing like hitting the open road with its endless miles of highway, unique roadside attractions, wonders, unique vintage gas stations, and of course those iconic motels. It is going to be America at its most Americana,” said Crocker to the audience. “Are we ready to go?”
The ladies’ witty banter kept the audience laughing between performances. At one point they were surprised by a visit from Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer after they talked about speeding down the highway. The interaction that followed was completely improvised and unscripted, delighting the audience.
The contestants started the evening out with combined performance, followed by the fitness portion where they worked out in a choreographed routine, as a group and individually. From there, they moved into the talent portion of the show, where each contestant had 90 seconds to impress the judges. The first contestant thrilled the audience with an Aerial Acrobatics performance. The rest followed, with songs, dance, painting, music, and skits. The evening continued with the Self Expression category, a performance from the Young Misses, Forget-Me-Nots, and more.
After an intermission, the contestants were brought back onto the stage by their escorts to the song ‘Bonners Ferry,’ by Runaway Symphony. The winners were then announced, receiving a total of more than $13,000 in scholarships, as well as gifts.
“Due to the continued unbelievable generosity of your spectacular community of Boundary County, not only are we able to give one of the highest amounts of scholarships in the entire state, but also in the nation,” explained Crocker.
One of the most coveted awards is the Spirit of DYW, which is voted on by the contestants. The winner is the one who displayed the true spirit of a Distinguished Young Woman, meaning they always did their best, had a positive attitude despite sometimes seemingly exhausting practices, or difficult personal situations, and they are always encouraging and inspiring to others.
The Spirit award went to Serenity Fahey, whose talent was Aerial Acrobatics, earning her an $850 scholarship. She also won one of the two Scholastic Awards, earning another $950, then finished by being chosen as the 2nd Runner Up, which came with an additional $1,500 scholarship.
Bailey Owens won the other Scholastic award, earning her a $950 scholarship, as well as the Be Your Best Self Award, which is voted on by committee members, based on five elements — be healthy, be involved, be ambitious, be studious, and be responsible. This brought her another $850 scholarship. She was then named 1st Runner Up, which came with an additional $1,900 scholarship.
The Talent award went to Miako Hosterman, whose vocal and trombone performance of the song “Summertime,” by Ella Fitzgerald, impressed the audience and judges alike. She earned an $850 scholarship.
The Fitness, Self Expression, and Interview categories all went to Katie Summerfield, who then went on to be named the 2019-2020 Distinguished Young Woman in an emotional conclusion to the evening. Summerfield received a total of $5,150 in scholarships and was sponsored by Bonners Ferry Eagles Aerie #3522.
Along with the scholarships, all the winners received gift certificates from a multitude of local businesses. Many local individuals and businesses came together to make the whole program possible.