Duncan Shares DYW Experiences


Lacee Duncan performs her talent at the state DYW.

Rebecca Eaves, Staff Writer


It’s every little girl’s dream. To float down the stage, a giant bouquet of flowers cradled in her arms, tiara placed on her perfectly curled head, and a hand waving away her tears.

Beauty pageants have this reputation to highlight young women for their grace and beauty. You might think that Distinguished Young Women is just another pageant, but it is so much more than a beauty pageant.

Lacee Duncan’s time at DYW helped her form new skills and new friendships that she says she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

“I was really excited, but nervous about state because it was the cream of the crop, the best of the best,” said Lacee. “The whole experience really helps you with public speaking skills, interview skills, and it just really helps you become the best you that you can be. That’s what it’s really all about.”

While there is an opportunity for self-improvement, there’s also the chance to make
life-long friends.

“The girls and I have all gotten really close. We’ve been in a group message since the moment we left and like nonstop, we’ve been texting just about how much we miss each other,” said Duncan. “We were together for a week, which really isn’t that long, it’s just amazing, the friendships that came out of it.”

Lacee said she encourages every girl to participate in DYW, expressing that DYW is a scholarship program not a “pageant,” and any girl can do it.

“I had done a pageant or two, but you don’t need any experience to do well in DYW,” Lacee said.

Donna Fuller runs Clark County’s DYW program and also believes that all junior girls should participate.

“I would tell each young lady to step out of their comfort zone to Be Their Best Self,” said Fuller.

The goal of DYW is to help girls feel prepared for their future.

“I have had several girls who were in the program in the past and never received an award at our local program,” Fuller said. “However, when they went to college they received scholarships because of the interview skills and the confidence they gained through the experience.”

To get the fullest out of DYW, you have to go in with the right attitude.

“I have had girls who are disappointed that they didn’t win but they came into the program with the wrong mindset,” said Fuller. “They came to WIN.  If they came to have fun, enjoy the experience, learn more about themselves and their friends, then they were a winner before they stepped out on that stage.  The awards are just icing on the cake.”

This year, Clark County will celebrate its 40th anniversary, and Fuller would like to see 40 Clark County girls compete to celebrate 40 years of Distinguished Young Women.

As Fuller says, “You must make a CHOICE to take a CHANCE or your life will never CHANGE!”