Jayden Martin is the 2021, Distinguished Young Woman of St. Maries; Lexi Appell is first alternate and Cassidy Suchoski is second alternate.
There were six participants this year: Lexi Appell, Daniella Dockery, Gabrial Harold, Jayden Martin, Darcie Peel, Cassidy Suchoski.
The title award, two alternates and seven subcategories awarded a total of $6,500 as college scholarships of various amounts.
Jayden Martin received $1,500 for the title award. First alternate Lexi Appell received $1,000. Second alternate Cassidy Suchoski received $750.
In the Be Your Best Self Category, in honor of Karen Ebert, $250 awards went to Daniella Dockery and Lexi Appell.
Karen Ebert passed away, June 30, 2007, a victim of breast cancer. The former DYW chairman (then Junior Miss) was regarded as the face of St. Maries Junior Miss for more than 20 years. As chairman she helped grow the program and oversaw an increase in participants, volunteers and dollars awarded.
Darcie Peel’s nomination by fellow contestants for Spirit of Distinguished Young Women awarded her $250.
Jayden Martin and Cassidy Suchoski earned an additional $200 each in the fitness and self-expression categories.
Cassidy Suchoski and Gabrial Harold each earned $250 for the talent award.
Jayden Martin and Lexi Appell each earned $250 for the scholastic award and the interview award.
The most awarded was Jayden Martin with five awards for a total of $2,400. Lexi Appell followed with four awards and a total of $1,750. Cassidy Suchoski was the third most awarded with four awards and a total of $1,400.
For the talent portion of the event Ms. Suchoski sang Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves; Ms. Appell painted a portrait of Elvis to the tune of the artist’s 2 minute 20 second song, Devil in Disguise; Ms. Dockery performed a country dance to Cotton Eye Joe; Jayden Martin performed a comedic monologue as an officer of the grammar police; Ms. Harold performed a sign language translation of Frank Sinatra’s My Way; Ms. Peel performed a comedic character dance, to the tune Canned Heat by Jamiroquai, that was immediately recognizable to fans of the film Napoleon Dynamite.
The DYW 2021 was marked by the unique challenge of contending with a global pandemic. As master of ceremonies, Margie Gannon, said “...it was on, it was off, it was on again with changes.”
The annual event is typically held in April, but a statewide shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic delayed it two months. Event capacity was also limited and moved to St. Maries Church of the Nazarene. According to board member Kristi Wear, an event that has drawn approximately 700 attendees in the past was limited to 90 total tickets.
Despite the adjustments, Ms. Wear said the program worked out well and that she was pleased with the participants for their resolve throughout and their performance the day of the event. She also expressed her gratitude to volunteers and sponsors of DYW 2021.