Roller named the 2016 Chilton County Distinguished Young WomanBy Emily ReedPublished 3:47pm Monday, July 13, 2015
Makenzie Roller was named the 2016 Chilton County representative for the Distinguished Young Women program on July 11.- See more at: http://www.clantonadvertiser.com/2015/07/13/roller-named-the-2016-chilton-county-distinguished-young-woman/#sthash.pIYLrrpf.dpuf
Roller, 17, said learning she won the program was “unbelievable” and something she considers an honor.
“I was in total shock,” Roller said. “I have never won anything as important as this. All of the other six girls who competed are amazing and could have easily won this. It is such an honor for me to represent the county, and I am very excited.”
Roller, who will be a senior this year at Verbena High School, was awarded $1,200 in scholarship money for being named the winner.
The 59-year-old program is a national scholarship program that encourages high school seniors to develop their full potential.
The program provides contestants scholarship money for college.
This year’s program had seven contestants from across Chilton County who competed in talent, a physical fitness, interview and self-expression portions of the event.
Roller said she enjoyed the DYW program due to it not being similar to a beauty pageant.
“I did pageants when I was much younger, but I didn’t really enjoy them as much,” Roller said. “This was the first big thing that I tried to really work at.”
When she wasn’t practicing for the DYW program, Roller spent her time at Durbin Farms in Clanton, where she is employed.
Frequenters to Durbin Farms will recognize Roller as one of the friendly faces behind the ice cream counter.
“I got a job this summer at Durbin Farms so I had to work around my work schedule and my taekwondo schedule to be able to find time to practice,” Roller said. “It was crazy at times, but I have to credit Leslee Deavers (DYW organizer), who helped me so much. She was a huge help to all of us girls.”
Roller also won the talent portion of the program for her taekwondo demonstration.
“I did a form, followed by a board break,” Roller said. “I really enjoyed doing that.”
Roller took home $250 for her talent, $300 for being named the interview winner and $300 for being a scholastic winner.
Roller said she decided to participate in the DYW program after being a “little sister” to DYW 2015 contestant Katie Allen.
“Little sisters” help DYW contestants backstage during the program as well as perform in the opening routine.
“They are amazing,” Roller said. “I knew when I helped Katie that this was something I really wanted to participate in myself. I also found out a lot about the DYW program from Leslee Deavers who came to the schools this year and gave a presentation on the program.”
Although Roller is still looking at various colleges to attend, she is currently focusing on two schools, Auburn University at Montgomery or Troy University.
Roller is the daughter of Gena and Greg Roller.
Other scholarship winners included:
•Savannah Swindle, who won $185 for Spirit of Distinguished Young Women and $400 for being named second runner-up.
•Avery Wyatt, who won $100 for the “Be Your Best Self” essay award.
•Leah Easterling, who won $200 and a one-year membership to Cornerstone Fitness and Wellness for being the physical fitness winner, $200 for winning the self-expression portion of the program and $600 for being named first runner-up.
A total of $3,735 in cash scholarships was given to contestants during the program.
“It was a huge success,” said Deavers. “We had a very smart, talented group of girls.”