KarLee McNeel awarded Distinguished Young Woman for Clay County

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

KarLee McNeel was awarded Distinguished Young Woman for Clay County during the competition on April 1 in Meridian.
Chairperson Sally Johnson said Distinguished Young Woman was a scholarship opportunity for girls in high school, and they were judged based on interview, talent, scholastic, fitness and self expression portions of the competition.
“I had a really wonderful experience participating in Distinguished Young Woman,” McNeel said. “I got to meet a lot of other girls who shared the same values as me.”
McNeel is a junior at Starkville Academy and lives in Pheba. She is the daughter of Lee and Jeanie McNeel.
Johnson said McNeel participated in the Winners Workshop last weekend in Meridian where she received her medallion for being Clay County’s Distinguished Young Woman.
McNeel said her talent during the competition was a flute performance entitled Sonata in F Major.
“Being able to share my talent and represent Clay County was really important to me since we don’t have a program in Clay County,” McNeel said.
Johnson said since there was no Distinguished Young Women program in Clay County, McNeel participated in the at-large program.
“She was the only girl from her county, so they have a score a score a set by the state in each of the portions of the competition,”Johnson said. “If they make that score, they get to participate in the state program.”
Johnson said the state competition will be July 13-15 in Meridian.
McNeel said her platform during the state competition would be bringing a Distinguished Young Woman program to Clay County so more girls can have the opportunity to earn scholarships.
“Because we were in the at-large program, there was no real scholarship money, but the winners from the state competition level competition will win scholarships,” McNeel said.
McNeel said the overall winner of the state competition would win a $13,000 scholarship, the first alternate would win an $8,000 scholarship and the winner of each portion of the competition would also win some scholarship money.
Johnson said the winners from the state competition would go on to compete in the national competition in June 2018 in Mobile.