Distinguished Young Woman
Amie Sessoms, the 2013 Distinguished Young Woman of North Carolina, is walking around with her head held higher on the heels of the state program in Greensboro last weekend.
Arriving at school Monday morning, her classmates and teachers at East Rutherford High School welcomed her back her and one teacher threw a little party. There will be a school celebration Friday afternoon, said principal Brad Teague.
Sessoms received a $10,000 cash scholarship to the college of her choice, the state Distinguished Young Woman medallion and an all expense paid trip to Mobile, Ala. for the national finals in June to compete for $130,000 in cash scholarships.
"It was the most amazing feeling ever. Indescribable," Sessoms said. "I was so surprised."
Sessoms said she learned during the week in Greensboro to hold her head up high and to be confident in the person she is.
"I know it's hard to believe, but if I hadn't won a single thing, I'd still be confident," Sessoms said. "What I really learned about this program is it doesn't change who you are. You become a better person.
"We all look at ourselves a little bit differently after the program as we hold our heads a little higher."
She went on stage Friday and Saturday with the same attitude she's had since being named Rutherford County's DYW. "All I've done was to be myself. I was myself on stage. I did the best I could. I am who I am," she said.
She was the only contestant out of the 15 DYW contestants to win all five preliminary events. She won Self-Expression, Talent, Judges’ Interview, Fitness and Scholastics. She received an additional $200 in cash scholarships for each judging category.
She also won the Be Your Best Self (BYBS) Scholarship, earning another $500 cash scholarship to add to her total scholarship earnings.
Sessoms' talent was a lyrical dance to “Note to God”, choregraphed by Macie Strickland of Forest City. After a brief meeting with the state program personnel in Greensboro after she was named winner, they have suggested she perform the same dance at the national program. "They really liked the choreography," she said.
"We are beyond thrilled for Amie, her family and the loyal supporters," said Gail Strickland, Rutherford County DYW chair. More than 50 family members, friends and DYW committee members were in Greensboro to support Sessoms.
"This past March we celebrated a 30 year legacy of Junior Miss/Distinguished Young Women and what a fabulous way to wrap up that milestone," Strickland said. "Amie is the epitome of a Distinguished Young Women," Strickland said.
She said as the program's emcees began to call Sessoms' name in every category of the program, "we knew we had a winner.
"Winning preliminary awards in all five categories is a huge accomplishment and she prepared for many months, working hard to be the best she could personally be."
Strickland said in the scholastics category, Sessoms worked hard for many years to maintain her excellent academic record and represented the very best in the Rutherford County Schools system.
Strickland said Rutherford County's DYW and volunteers will continue to support Sessoms in every way possible as she makes the transition from the local representative to a representative for the entire state of North Carolina.
Sessoms, the daughter of Brian and Sallie Sessoms of Forest City, plans to major in English major in college with teacher certification and minor in Journalism and Broadcasting. She is considering Clemson, NC State, Appalachian and the University of South Carolina for her college.
Brianna Birchett of Buncombe County was named First Finalist and the Second Finalist was Alisha Little of Wake County.
The North Carolina program is in its 54th year and has been providing scholarships to deserving high school senior women from across the state since its inception. The 2012 North Carolina representative, Christina Maxwell is the national representative, Distinguished Young Woman of America.