BELLEFONTE — The 13 finalists in the Centre County’s Outstanding Young Woman scholarship program are preparing to go before judges on Saturday, Sept. 12.
Earlier this year, candidates applied to the program — which is held annually to honor a female Centre County high school senior — and finalists were chosen in May.
The finalists will be judged in five categories: a 120-second performance for the creative and performing arts portion; a fitness routine for the aerobics and fitness category; a choreographed routine for the presence and presentation category; a look at school transcripts and scholastic test scores for the scholarship and achievement portion; and answers to questions during a 10-minute interview.
But, as program director Linnea Ripka made clear, the Centre County’s Outstanding Young Woman serves a purpose beyond awarding one student with a scholarship. “When you have some of the young ladies that aren’t so sure of themselves and they don’t necessarily have high self-esteem, what this program does is, it brings them out of their shells and helps them become confident,” Ripka said.
In the weeks leading up to the program, finalists go on a weekend retreat, gain interviewing skills through a workshop and have the opportunity to bond with one another.
Even though judges choose just one of the 13 finalists as the winner, Ripka said, “Because they got to this point, they are all winners.”
In addition to the scholarship, judges give out two awards in each of the categories that finalists are judged in, according to Ripka.
The program starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Bellefonte Area High School and tickets are available at the door.
The event will start off with a choreographed opening number, followed by the judging of creative and performing arts, presence and presentation, and fitness.
The runner-up from last year’s program will return to emcee, as well as perform during the event. The program will conclude with a slideshow and the awards ceremony.