Some Friends, Some Advice and Some Learning - by Jacky


Jacky Arness is a college freshman at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota majoring in Political Science/International Relations with a minor in Theatre Arts. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Jacky was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of North Dakota for 2011. Learn more about Jacky here!

Be Responsible - National Be Your Best Self Week

This week, we will feature a series of posts in celebration of Distinguished Young Women's National Be Your Best Self Week. Katye Brock, Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011, will share about one of the five elements of the Be Your Best Self program each day. Learn more about National Be Your Best Self Week here!

Be RESPONSIBLE

As we grow up, we get more responsibility.  Unfortunately, it’s just a fact of life.  Although this can be stressful at times, it is extremely important to stay committed to your responsibilities—not only to others, but also to yourself.  There are so many challenges and moral problems you will face as you grow up; it is your responsibility to yourself to protect and maintain the beautiful person you are.  We also have a responsibility to others to be the best person we can possibly be.  Here’s what it means to accept personal responsibility:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/14698-accepting-personal-responsibility/


Be RESPONSIBLE! Be DISTINGUISHED!
Katye

Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here!


 

Be Ambitious - National Be Your Best Self Week


This week, we will feature a series of posts in celebration of Distinguished Young Women's National Be Your Best Self Week. Katye Brock, Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011, will share about one of the five elements of the Be Your Best Self program each day. Learn more about National Be Your Best Self Week here!

Be AMBITIOUS

Ambition is an admirable quality—but what exactly is it? Good old dictionary.com defines it as: “anearnest desirefor some type of achievement or distinction.” Did you get that? An earnest desire.  Ambition is more than just wanting something to happen; it’s making it a priority, making it a priority, and not stopping until you achieve it.  What is it that you are ambitious about??

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Be AMBITIOUS! Be DISTINGUISHED!
Katye

Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here!



Be Studious - National Be Your Best Self Week

This week, we will feature a series of posts in celebration of Distinguished Young Women's National Be Your Best Self Week. Katye Brock, Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011, will share about one of the five elements of the Be Your Best Self program each day. Learn more about National Be Your Best Self Week here!

Be STUDIOUS


I’m sure it has been pounded into each and every one of your beautiful brains to try your best in school.  As cliché as it sounds, that is incredibly important as you grow up and move to college—I mean, we are talking about the rest of your lives, girls!  Being studious doesn’t simply mean making good grades; it means being curious individuals, excited to learn about the world around you, and not always taking the path of least resistance.  I know we always like to find reasons that we are better than our male counterparts (I mean, there are thousands out there!...Just kidding!), so here is an interesting article from the New York Times about just how studious women are in comparison to men.


Be STUDIOUS! Be DISTINGUISHED!
Katye

Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here!

Be Involved - National Be Your Best Self Week


This week, we will feature a series of posts in celebration of Distinguished Young Women's National Be Your Best Self Week. Katye Brock, Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011, will share about one of the five elements of the Be Your Best Self program each day. Learn more about National Be Your Best Self Week here!

BE INVOLVED

As Distinguished Young Women, I am sure you are all extremely involved in activities in your schools and communities.  Find your passion!  Get involved in all types of activities, and find that one thing that really just makes you tick.  Though it is important to think of yourself when choosing an activity, sometimes it is nice to think of others.  I encourage you all to find an organization that parallels your passion, and pour some of yourself into it.  Here is a great website that will help you find volunteer opportunities:

Be INVOLVED! Be DISTINGUISHED!
Katye

Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here!

Be Healthy - National Be Your Best Self Week

This week, we will feature a series of posts in celebration of Distinguished Young Women's National Be Your Best Self Week. Katye Brock, Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011, will share about one of the five elements of the Be Your Best Self program each day. Learn more about National Be Your Best Self Week here!

BE HEALTHY

What does it mean to be healthy?  Most of us think of health as eating healthful foods and exercising regularly.  While those are extremely important, did you ever consider the other aspects of your health? Physical, Mental, and Social Health compose the Health Triangle.  Read more about it in this article!


Now—to focus on physical health.  A HUGE part of maintaining physical health is where your motivation lies.  Instead of viewing a workout as punishment to your body for eating that extra piece of cake, look at it as a reward for the wonderful, beautiful, miracle of a body that God gave you.  LOVE your body.  I came across this article on Yahoo, and I love it!


Be Healthy! Be Distinguished!
Happy National Be Your Best Self week!
Katye

Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here!




Finding Prince Charming - by Rebecca

Alright, girls, let’s be honest for a minute. I think almost all of us have, at some point in time, dreamed of having a “Cinderella” fairytale. I mean, who wouldn’t love to have a story like that of their own? She gets her dream guy—one who seems impossible to get—in such a perfect way. There’s the “love at first sight” ideal moment, some drama and suspense, and a true love that reigns over all barriers (including annoying step sisters!). It seems like such an impossible ideal, but I think there’s a lot to learn from Cinderella.


First of all, don’t keep waiting, but never stop dreaming. Your ideal guy IS out there, you just have to wait! Many times, your perfect fairytale isn’t actually your idea. Most couples meet in a completely unexpected way. One woman in my life who recently got married told me, “It was when I stopped looking that I found my true love.” It’s when you STOP worrying and searching for the right guy that you tend to find exactly what you’re looking for and more. So don’t waste your life away WAITING! Just keep living your life to the fullest, and let Prince Charming find you himself, because trust me, if you are meant to be together, nothing will keep you apart! But in that, never stop dreaming. Never give up hope that you will find your Prince Charming. He will come, in the perfect way, at the perfect time!

Secondly, know that your Prince Charming is never too good for you. So in that fact, realize two things: first of all, you shouldn’t think you’re not good enough for anyone, and second, your Prince Charming shouldn’t feel he’s too good for you. Cinderella doubted herself multiple times, wondering why on earth a prince would fall for someone like her. However, in this, I’m sure the prince wondered why someone like her would fall for him, either. When you find your Prince Charming, you should both feel as though you’ve found someone too good to be true. Don’t fall for anyone who won’t treat you as any less than the princess that you are!! With that, don’t lower your standards for anyone. Make a list of every trait you want your “perfect guy” to have, and I can guarantee your perfect guy will meet all those standards and more! Even if he doesn’t match the description perfectly, his flaws should be ones that do not make you lower any of your standards. They will just be small differences that still make him perfect in your eyes.

Thirdly, there WILL be trials. Even Cinderella had trials throughout her fairytale! I mean, she had to deal with an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters, with no one to stand up for her at home. Above that, she ran away from the ball knowing that the prince had no idea who she was, thinking she would never see him again, and she even lost one of her prized glass slippers! (I think that may be a VERY big issue for some of us!) It is VERY unlikely that your story will play out without any troubles or hiccups. But that’s how it should work! Think of how boring Cinderella would have been if she didn’t have any of those problems. Cinderella would have grown up in a nice castle of her own with her dad, she would have gone to the ball with all the other girls, she would have met the prince, they would have fallen in love and gotten married the next day, and all would have been well in the kingdom. Snore. Besides it being super boring, you can’t grow without trials and problems. It’s through facing these issues that we learn about both ourselves and others. So push through the problems! They will come, but if it is meant to be, everything will work out!

Finally, WAIT. I do not mean spend your life just waiting for the perfect guy; rather, I mean wait to label someone as your Prince Charming. Don’t throw yourself at the first guy who comes your way. Guard your heart, because it’s the only heart you get. You are a prize, and you should wait for the one who will treat you as such. Just don’t rush yourself into your fairytale—you have your whole life ahead of you, and when your true fairytale happens, it will have been worth waiting for!!

So let’s go over our lessons from Cinderella…
  1. Don’t waste your life waiting, but never stop dreaming! 
  2. Your Prince Charming is never too good for you, and he should treat you like the princess you are!
  3. Your fairytale will not go without trouble—there WILL be bumps in the road, just keep pushing through!
  4. WAIT to find your true Prince Charming. Don’t put up barriers, but guard your heart wisely, because you are a prize to be won!
Remember that everything will work out as it is supposed to. Don’t stress about finding the right guy, because the right guy will find you! Just be yourself, live your life, and get ready to write your own perfect story!

Rebecca Mitchell is a college freshman at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. Originally from Ijamsville, Maryland, Rebecca was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland for 2011. Learn more about Rebecca here!

Home Design

Living Room
Knowing many aspects on home design is the best solution for your great home building. When we have to build our home but we don’t know any kind of building literature, we may use professional home designer or architect. Professional like they are usually viewing their customer needs to synchronize with all the condition such as topography, land type, general environment and more. One thing for sure when we build our home for our best place for living should fit some condition. Room availability is the most importance thing for comforting our movement and activity. Gate, is the first entrance access into our home. Parlor, place for take on all the guests who has visiting our home. Living room, the most used room in our home.
Living room activity such relaxing and gathering with all the part of our family, watching movie, chat and more.
Bedroom
Bedroom (rest area ^_^), use to be the most comfortable place to make our condition feel great again by take a good rest here. Good bedroom design will take good effect in our recovery time a.k.a resting. Then the next room is kitchen, housewife area. Cooking foods, making cake and whole activity should be more comfort in great kitchen design. Dining room, the next room to follow-up the food has cooked by our mother. Dining room furniture choice which is matched by the theme will bring more good effect on us. Bathroom, usually best place to make our body fresher by take a shower. Making good bathroom design will allow you get the health quality of live. Backyard, any outdoor occasion we do like barbeque party, enjoying afternoon tea time, playing with the kids will be joyful here. Backyard design should be match with the theme of our home back side. Move inside again, if the soil condition enable we can make our basement. Here the professional hand needed, basement design, basement placing, wet or dry condition making, plumbing, water proofing etc will made good basement. Oh we almost forget the garage, car, motorcycle, tools can be saved in our garage. Good garage management such as selves decrease room utilization.
Parlor

Minimalist Living Room

Bedroom Design
Kitchen Design
Kitchen Design

Dining Room Furniture

Dining Room
Bathroom Ideas
Bathroom Design
Backyard Design
Natural Backyard Design
Basement Remodeling
Basement Design
Terrace Design
Terrace Design
Home Garden
Beautiful Garden Design
The Garage
Garage Storage Ideas

My Favorite Distinguished Women - by Devin

I was recently looking through my news app on my phone and was confronted by the shocking mug shot of a girl who I used to look up to—Amanda Bynes.  I was horrified. I have many memories of watching “The Amanda Show” with my friends as a little girl and laughing at the dancing lobsters on the show.  Throughout her career, I could always count on having a truly hilarious time watching Bynes’ movies—“She’s the Man” is my favorite.  She was funny, but in a way that could appeal to girls and guys, which is a rare and intriguing quality in actresses these days.  I never thought I would see her go down a path taken by so many other girls in the limelight—Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Mischa Barton have already PAVED that road.


In coping with the misery of the current demise of one of my favorite actresses, I decided to write this blog post and focus on the triumphs of some of the most famous women of our generation—women who truly understand and exemplify what it takes to be distinguished.

Emma Stone is one of the most unique actresses I’ve ever seen.  She was hilarious in Superbad, but really broke out in Easy A, a movie where she portrays a girl who really challenges her high school’s stereotypes (she also was nominated for a Golden Globe for it). The role I really love Emma in, though, is as Eugenia in The Help. She brings a refreshing light to any movie and she is never in news for being anything less than distinguished.


Tina Fey is definitely one of my role models.  Not only was she head writer of Saturday Night Live (Who can forget her hilarious impersonation of Sarah Palin?) but she wrote and co-starred in Mean Girls, THE movie with the best social commentary, albeit exaggerated, on what it is like to be a girl in high school today.  Now she writes and stars in her own TV show called 30 Rock as well.  She also wrote a book about her life (Bossypants). Oh yeah, AND she’s been married to the same man since 2001 and has two daughters.  Who says you can’t have it all?


I love Katie Couric.  She recently gave a lecture at my school, and she is one of the most inspiring women I have ever had the opportunity to see.  I even got the chance to ask her about her work in Miss Representation, a documentary about the exploitation of females in the media. Everyone watched her on Today, and she became the highest-paid news anchor at the CBS Evening News and the only female solo anchor. Now she’s going to begin a talk show under the name Katie. She has also been an inspirational spokeswoman about colon cancer since her late husband passed away because of the disease.  She is truly an exemplar of a successful, independent woman. 


Ever since Taylor Swift exploded on the country music scene when she was 16 to win multiple Grammy's with her autobiographical pop country, she has been an example that a young woman can be on the top of the world AND stay grounded.  While her relationships are highly publicized, she is known for being intensely real in her songwriting style and staying connected to her fans.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from her: “For everything I do, I think about a 6-year-old girl and her mom that I saw at my concert last night. I think about what those two individuals would think if I were at a club last night. I never want to be arrested, and I never want to get a DUI, those are my moral values.”


Thanks to Wikipedia.com and Brainyquote.com for the info!

Devin Kerns is a college freshman at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas majoring in Communications Studies with a minor in Italian. Originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma, Devin was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Oklahoma for 2011. Learn more about Devin here!

Summer in Alaska - by Sydney

Ladies, it’s that time of year. The air is spring fresh, the days are getting longer, the sun is shining and you know summer is just a few weeks away. I’ve been living in New York this year, and have really fallen in love with the whole concept of seasons. There is a joke in Alaska that there are only two seasons, Winter and Construction, because fall and spring both last about two days. But let me tell you something, I am obsessed with Alaskan Summers. Hands down the coolest place to be May- August, I promise.
So I’ve comprised a list of the best things to do in Alaska in the Summer. 

1. Water Skiing
Being pulled by a boat around a glass-flat lake, under the midnight sun is not only super fun, but great exercise! If you can’t ski, you can go tubing which is just as fun!
2. The Fairbanks Midnight Sun Run
Not your average 5k race! Everyone from your hardcore runner, to little kids in costumes show up every year to run at night all through Fairbanks, the second largest city in Alaska. You can sit and watch, or participate, some people even do both, stopping to chat then walking, it’s fun for everyone.

3.  Angel Rocks Hike/Chena Hot Springs Recovery
This is the best hike to take in interior Alaska, it takes about 2 hours to get up to the top of these amazing rocks, with scenic 360 views of beautiful untainted wilderness. Most people camp up on the top and then finish the 8 mile hike down the next morning. When your body is tired at the end, soak it in the Hot Springs located at the end of the trail. It’s glorious!

4. Camping and Fishing
You really can’t go wrong when you camp in Alaska, you can drive about ten minutes from my house and stay along a river, or you can drive to the mountains and take 4-wheelers into the wilderness. There are hikes, canoes and other activities that the state has for visitors, the state is your playground!

5. Outdoor Concerts
Since the sun is up all night during solstice, a fun way to spend it is at an outdoor concert. The state fair hosts some very popular artists and local bands play all the time. It’s cheap and very Alaskan to dance the night away!


What are some of your summer favorites? Leave some comments of things I should try in your state! I can't wait for summer! 
xoxo,

Sydney

Sydney McIntosh is a college freshman at Nyack College in Nyack, New York. Originally from North Pole, Alaska, Sydney was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Alaska for 2011. Learn more about Sydney here!

Childhood Wonder - by Katye


Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever.” - Walt Disney


Those of you who know me know that I am a HUGE Disney fan—like, much more than the average person.  I still have dreams of being a Disney Princess, my family goes to Disney World every year (by my persistent request), and I have a plethora of Ariel merchandise scattered about my room.  Maybe some of you think I’m weird (which is probably a tad bit true), but hear me out:

I do not want to grow up.  There, I said it.  I love the beauty of childhood—the unquestioned faith, the wild imagination, the unending energy—all of it.  College is one giant reality check that opens up to the real world.  For me, that’s one big horse pill to swallow.  As much as I don’t want to, I am going to have to grow up.  All of us are. However, that does not mean I can’t retain some of that childhood wonder that is ever present in all of Disney’s films and parks.  I think that, much too often, growing up means growing boring; people forget what it is like to be a kid!  My love for Disney has rejuvenated my spirit again and again.  Besides many wonderful and priceless memories with my daddy and others, Disney has provided me with several important things.  Here’s what Disney does best. 

Dreams
I’m not a wishful mermaid or an abused stepdaughter, nor do I live with seven stunted men.  I’ll never live in a palace or be awoken with a kiss; however, my dreams can come true.  This is one thing I love about Disney; they make the impossible seem possible.  The reality is, dreams DO come true—every single day!  Disney makes dreams beautiful and important.  All the Disney princesses dreamed about something, and many times, it was those dreams that drove their daily lives.  We should always keep our dreams with us, no matter how childish they are.   

Imagination
My boyfriend Jason has the most adorable niece, Kennedy.  Like any proper two-year-old, she adores Disney (I like to think I had something to do with that.).  Kennedy has the most stunning imagination.  She’ll run around the house yelling, and when we ask what she is doing, she replies, “I’m running like ‘Punzel!” (For those of you that don’t speak toddler, that’s Rapunzel from Tangled.)  She will dance and sing like Belle or Ariel, and she will make each of the adults play along.  I am fortunate to be part of this precious little girl’s life, and each day, she reminds me how boring life would be without imagination.  Disney and all of the whimsical tales it tells stress the importance of imagination—for both two-year-olds and nineteen-year-olds alike.   

Magic
“The Magic of Disney”—How many times have we heard this?  If it weren’t so true, it might get a little old.  But it is true.  The magic of Disney overwhelms me.  I’ll admit it.  I cry like a babbling baby when I watch the fireworks show at Disney World.  There is something about the combination of touching storylines, fireworks, and music that hits me like a train.  Though we may not be able to see a multi-thousand dollar fireworks show each night to make life magical, Disney can serve to remind us that life is magical.  Those special moments we spend with our families and friends—they aren’t things we should take for granted.  I’ve created many special moments at Disney; however, the magic I experience at the parks makes me appreciate the magic I experience every day. 

So, never think you’re too old to sit down and watch a Disney movie or go on a family vacation to Disney World.  Dream big, laugh loud, and always retain a bit of childhood.  You’ll be surprised at what you might learn along the way.  God bless you all, and remember: It all started with a mouse.  

Stay distinguished!

Katye



Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here!

What I Learned in a Year - by Gabrielle




Two weekends ago at my state program, I realized how fast a year truly goes by. I wanted this blog post to be about something I discovered that week. What I found was that my farewell speech summed up the great experience I had as a whole with the amazing Distinguished Young Women program and all who were a part of it.

The person I am today is not the person I was a year ago. That is the way everyone is. It is the experiences, influences, and inner morals that change a person. Without change the world would never move towards a better version of itself. Once given the title Distinguished Young Woman of New York for 2011 my future was brought on another, even better path than the one I had expected. Just like every other teenager, I have ideas, and my wish is to change the world by helping children make a foundation for a solid future through education and health awareness. Earning this title gave me an outlet to change the world.

For National Be Your Best Self week that took place last April, I visited the Charter School for Applied Technologies right here in my own city. It opened my eyes to another side of the place I call home, Buffalo. From the moment my friends and I arrived the halls were filled with nerves of the young girls. To start off we played Simon Says and when it became really difficult to get anyone out, I knew that I had their attention, which is one of the most important things. I lead the way as Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road and we stopped by all of the characters to learn about a special Be Your Best Self Element while singing a song along the way. When it was time to leave, they were changed girls within that hour. They already had the smarts about what all the elements are like exercising to be healthy and doing homework to be studious, but to put all the elements together and be your best self took my involvement. It is the big picture that without one it is hard to have the others. Those girls learned that being your best self is something that everyone works towards each day, yes we may make mistakes, but that is what makes us who we are. Teaching these young girls about being your best self was like looking at my reflection in the mirror. I reminded myself about not only what I am doing, but showed myself some things I can improve on as well. The girls changed me in that I know and see that I am truly a role model for everyone younger than me that I encounter. My actions act as a model for how others act.

From the moment I arrived in Mobile, I was blown away. The kind, warm hearted families, contestants, choreographers, committees, everyone made me feel sooo welcomed. I cannot even name half of the events we did because we were so booked with rehearsals, sponsor events, Girl Scout Troop visits, time with host families, we did it all! Some of the best moments though were the ones that were not scheduled, I call them distinguished moments. Getting to know my host family the McKinney’s and their involvement in the program over some frozen yogurt at Cold Snap and then heading to gulf shores was fabulous. This program is not just something they do on the side, it has become a part of their lives. They do it because they believe in the program and its message of “helping college bound young women develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments.” One of the funnier moments was when all the contestants and I were at the Mardi Gras Ball and our group number song “Born this Way” came on and we all as a group just broke out in dance. Those are the distinguished moments. It is the moment when I was at Camp Grace helping children with disabilities and serving them lunch, watching the camp counselors have patience and aid to that child’s every need, that was a distinguished moment. And they happen every day if you look for them.

So one may ask, why is it important to be distinguished? Good old Webster says that to be distinguished is to be “marked by eminence, distinction, or excellence.” No one person is the same in this world. We all have our own ideas, interpretations, and opinions about the world. It is the differences of opposing ideas that makes no one the same. How would the world be if everyone thought the same? Nothing would ever change. There would be no collaboration of ideas to get the best outcome of what people have to offer. I believe everyone has something to offer in this world. Getting things to make yourself better in life is the usual, but giving of yourself to others in the toughest times is self- sacrificing, a distinct action, a distinguished deed. It is the circumstances that we encounter in life that force us to have opinions. Our innate actions show who we are as individuals. It is when no one is watching that you are yourself.

All of my experiences in this past year with the program have helped me become the woman I am today. And what is the outcome of this change? I am in debt to Distinguished Young Women, not debt as in money that I owe, but the debt of giving back all that I have won in spirit. It is up to me to keep going with all the skills, friendships, connections and personal obtainings to give to others through support and teaching. It is the skills and knowledge that Distinguished Young Women has taught me about myself that I can teach other girls about themselves. Like a chain reaction, I can still change the world. I do not need a title, I need an idea, the ability to persuade others to follow me, and determination to follow through with my goal.

I came across a quote from one of my good friends and it reads, “We lose ourselves in the things we love, and often find ourselves there too.” I lose myself in my passions of writing, singing, dancing, and performing. That is where I find myself to be most happy. But I have realized it is performing that does not need to be done on stage, but rather for the people I meet every day; in volunteering, in school.... my passion is a part of who I am. On this stage tonight you are seeing girls sharing their passions with you; themselves in their best form.

No one can succeed by themselves it is known that humans need other humans. So also, besides the letter in the program book I would like to especially thank again the committee as a whole, melissa the choreographer, and host families-- they do so much for this program. The lovely Susan Makai and a shout out to her mother for honestly some of the best sandwiches I have ever had. And finally to my family- Mom, Dad, Mel Will, and Auntie. And my new roommate family- Rachel, Leah, Sarah, and Marissa. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for believing in me when I was struggling to see the success in myself.

I am so honored to be your Distinguished Young Woman of 2011, it is an experience I will never forget, and I am proud to pass on the title to another deserving young woman tonight. Thank you! :)


Gabrielle Walter is a college freshman at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York majoring in Biology/Pre-medicine. Originally from East Amherst, New York, Gabrielle was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of New York for 2011. Learn more about Gabrielle here!

Be an Iron Lady - by Rachel

The United States has come a long way since women were first given the right to vote in 1920, but it has been a long road. Even today women on average are paid less than men and a smaller number of women are employed.

Recently, I have been noticing a lot of jokes coming out about women; most of them are centered on us “knowing our place” and “staying in the kitchen.” People are beginning to feel like it’s OK to talk down to women, treat us like we’re inferior, and demand things of us again. And some women are letting them!

Guess what? It’s not okay! Susan B. Anthony did not fight for our rights just so a century later we would fall back into apathy.

My friends and I were bored the other night so we decided to watch The Iron Lady at the dollar theater. It was the best dollar I have spent in a very long time. I cannot tell you how inspirational that movie was. I highly recommend you rent it and watch it with all your best gal pals. It followed Margaret Thatcher’s political career from the beginning all the way until she was the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She was not taken seriously until she made incredibly pivotal decisions for the country. She brought the UK into prosperity. My favorite quote (that actually brought me to tears!) was this: 

“I will never be one of those women, who stay silent and pretty on the arm of her husband. Or remote and alone in the kitchen doing the washing up for that matter. One’s life must matter, Denis, beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children. One’s life must mean more than that. I cannot die washing up a teacup.”


Margaret Thatcher, later nicknamed the Iron Lady, exceeded all expectations that the country had of her. She was determined and genuinely had her people’s best interests at heart.

The movie made me remember that all of these jokes, that I sometimes think are funny, are just fuel to a fire that women before us fought so vigorously to extinguish.

Ladies, do not allow anyone to make you feel inferior. We must remember that we are just as able and capable as any man to do anything we want.

On a side note, another thing that has become quite popular: do not immerse yourself in Hollywood portrayals of women that act weak and incompetent. Turn away from the character of Isabella Swan in Twilight, and embrace Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games or Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. Although all three are wonderful stories; consider which woman you would rather aspire to be.

Aspire to be great. Leave behind a legacy that women of the future will admire. Assume the position of leader, doctor, engineer, or even President of the United States. As Margaret Thatcher said, your life must matter.

Be empowered!

Rachel Williams is a college freshman at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico majoring in International Studies. Originally from Kirtland, New Mexico, Rachel was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of New Mexico for 2011. Learn more about Rachel here!