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2021 Distinguished Young Woman of Chilton County named

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Evelyn Cleckler of Clanton chose to participate in Distinguished Young Women of Chilton County for scholarship money, but she never thought she would be the winner.

“I was very surprised,” Cleckler said. “I thought maybe I had a shot at second or third place, but I never imagined first place … It was a big shock.”

DYW is a national scholarship program where high school girls compete in categories of scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression.

Cleckler participated in the local competition on July 10, and she is “very excited” to compete at the state level in January.

For her talent, Cleckler sang “In My Dreams” from “Anastasia on Broadway”.

In addition to being the overall winner, Cleckler was selected for best interview and placed second in the self-expression and scholastic categories. In total, she won $3,300 in scholarships and a one-year membership to the YMCA.

Fitness was her hardest category, especially because her shoe came off at the beginning of the routine. Later in the routine, she took off her second shoe. She said the stage was slippery without her shoes.

She had initially heard about the opportunity from her friend former Distinguished Young Woman of Chilton County Sara Beth Huntley.

“I honestly went into it for the money, but I came out with a lot more,” Cleckler said. “I loved the whole experience. I met a lot of girls that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”

She also enjoyed getting to know the coordinators.

“That whole team of women that put on that program every year are so amazing,” Cleckler said.

This team is already helping her prepare for state.