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State DYW a Great Experience for Senior Caroline Handshoe

A Week of Hard Work, New Friendships

Caroline+Handshoe+on+stage+with+her+%22little+sister%22+Janeway+Lowther
Caroline Handshoe on stage with her

Caroline Handshoe on stage with her "little sister" Janeway Lowther

Caroline Handshoe on stage with her "little sister" Janeway Lowther


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This month, senior Caroline Handshoe represented Clark County in the Distinguished Young Women of Kentucky program. She shared her experience with Features Editor Olivia Montgomery and explained the many valubable skills and lessons she took away from her experience.

When did you first become aware of the Distinguished Young Women program and plan to participate in it?
My amazing friend, Madison Plowman, first told me about the program. I was a little hesitant when she started talking about performing in heels and dresses, immediately thinking, “I’m not a pageant girl”. But the more I was told about it, the more faith I had in the program.

Can you give a basic summary of the process?
For both Local and State, there are five sections we are scored on: Scholastics, Talent, Self Expression, Interview, and Fitness. The scholastics and interview portion are done ahead of time. So, Before we ever do our first performance, fifty percent of the scoring is already done. Choreographed fitness is an expression of a talent shown in under ninety seconds. During Self Expression, we answer a question on stage which displays poise and speaking ability.

What are the personal benefits of this program?
During DWY, I was asked to do many things out of my comfort zone. I was nervous and self conscious going into the program. After the local competition, I went to state and the complex I had made for myself started anew. The girls who were strangers to me during orientation opened up and helped me feel comfortable. I earned a newfound sense of trust in others and a boost of confidence.  I know now that anything I do in the future can’t be as nerve racking as those first few days were.

What role have friends and family played in your participation in the program?
My mom and my Nana were number one in helping with my dresses. My Nana even paid for my talent dress. I owe them so much for their trust in me and the support I was given. I got so much love from my friends and family in Clark County. And once I was at the program and Singletary, I had a whole new support system. I don’t think people realize how much a bear or flowers or a card can help when you feel so bogged down. Every time I got a letter, I saved it and would look back at it when I was nervous or afraid.

What was the process for you in preparing for the program?
Dress shopping was a challenge in itself with so many options to choose from. The dresses I chose in the end were gorgeous. There was an entire day that my mom and I devoted to purely shoe shopping. I will admit that I procrastinated in looking at the routine videos, but we had many work days before the program and I took advantage of those every time I could. I had a good grasp of the fitness before going to the program but a lot of the little detail were drilled into us by Traci, the choreographer, during the week. By the end of it, the routines were practically preformed from muscle memory.

What were the qualities you felt were most important in your presentation?
I wanted to appear very refined on stage. I had to remember to keep my shoulders back and always have a smile, even when I was masking a yawn from how tired I was. All of the movements for dance and fitness had to be delivered with the utmost energy I could give. Above all, I just wanted to look comfortable on stage.

What was the most enjoyable part of this experience for you and what did you take away from it?
We did do community service projects and my favorite was visiting the V.A. My grandfather was in the Vietnam War and he is one of the sweetest and funniest people I know. So naturally, giving love and support to veterans, especially those who have been wounded mentally and physically, is something very important to me. I met a man who had served in Vietnam during the same time that my Pappaw had. It made me have a sense of thankfulness that my Pappaw is able to be home and a newfound respect for those who can’t be with their family after spending so much time away from them.

How will your participation in DYW potentially affect your future?
DYW has already affected my future. Just my overall confidence in myself and my singing. My improved speaking skills and being able to think on my feet have helped me with college interviews and potential scholarship opportunities. I hope to help other girls with their performances in the future and know that even though my time as DYW is coming to and end, my time with the program will not be finished any time soon.

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State DYW a Great Experience for Senior Caroline Handshoe