Parish resident places in Top 8 finalists at national competition

By Emma Stone

Formerly known as America’s Junior Miss, the 66th annual Distinguished Young Women scholarship hosts the largest competition for high school girls.

This year’s competition was held in Mobile, Alabama, and one girl was chosen for each state.

Rosie Shultz, parish resident and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches senior, represented the state of Louisiana and placed in the top eight finalists.

“Making top eight in the country was incredible,” said Shultz. “And it was so rewarding to see all my hard work pay off.”

Shultz took home $8,500 in scholarship money after competing in five categories: scholastics, interview, talent, self-expression and fitness.

After reviewing her high school transcript and SAT or ACT test scores, Shultz had a 10-minute interview with a panel of judges, a 90-second performance in which she sang a classical German opera piece and a 20- to 40-second short speech on a given question or topic.  

Lastly, fitness included a 10-minute HIIT routine that included a group portion with an individual spotlight.

“I spent a lot of time preparing for the fitness routine,” said Shultz. “I also spent time practicing my talent, doing mock interviews and practicing speaking on the spot with random self-expression prompts.”

While in Mobile, most of the time was spent doing service projects, touring colleges and sightseeing. An opening number was rehearsed every night leading up to the competition, so Shultz became close with the other girls. 

“I got to meet some of the most intelligent and talented young women from across the country,” said Shultz. “I’ve made connections and friendships that I know will be incredibly valuable for my professional career.”

Shultz leaned back on her community, family members and mentors to push her forward for the competition. 

“I’d like to thank my family Deanna McCallum, Sarah Katherine McCallum Cox, Marianna Easley, Dr. Steele Moegle, Lisa Benner and Dr. Jenna Carpenter,” said Shultz. “And my experiences with Ruston Community Theatre, Speech and Debate and the Artist in Training Program at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.”

Results for the competition put Shultz at receiving five different scholarship awards which were for the Louisiana State Winner, Bork Family Justice Award, Self-Expression Preliminary Winner and Top Eight Overall Finalist.