Welborn and Cain Win 2021 DYW Titles

From left are Makenzie Rich, “Be Your Best Self Essay”; Avery Turner, Fitness, Talent, 1st Alternate; Anna Welborn, Distinguished Young Woman title, Spirit and Self-Expression; Olivia Wachsman, Scholastic and 2nd Alternate; Amaya Smith, Interview.

Anna Welborn and Evan Cain won this year’s Distinguished Young Women titles for East Jackson County and West Jackson County, respectively.

Welborn, the daughter of Greg and Denise Welborn, attends East Central High School. Cain, the daughter of Ted and Julie Cain, attends Ocean Springs High School. Both are juniors and will participate in the state program next summer in Meridian. The state winner will compete the following summer for the 2021 national title in Mobile, Ala.

Ten girls participated in the East DYW program, and 11 participated in the West DYW program. Both programs took place Nov. 16. Girls were judged in the following five categories: scholastic (25 percent), interview (25 percent), self-expression (15 percent), talent (20 percent) and fitness (15 percent).

Other winners in the East program were Avery Turner who took first alternate and the fitness award; Olivia Wachsman, who won second alternate and the scholastic award; Makenzie Rich who won the “Be Your Best Self” essay contest and Amaya Smith, who won the interview award. In addition to the DYW title, Welborn also won awards for spirit and self-expression.

Rich is the daughter of Scott and Rita Bailey and Steven and Jamie Rich and attends East Central High School. Wachsman is the daughter of John and Jamey Wachsman and attends George County High School. Smith, the daughter of Alan and Ashley Smith, attends East Central High School. Turner, the daughter of Shane and Kelli Turner, is a student at Moss Point High School.

Other winners in the West program were first alternate Meredith Dudte and second alternate Sofie Perkins, who also won awards for talent, fitness, spirit, self-expression and interview. In addition to the DYW title, Cain also won the scholastic award.

Perkins, the daughter of William and Kecia Perkins, is a student at Resurrection Catholic High School. Dudte, the daughter of Ben and Angela Dudte, is a student at Ocean Springs High School.

The two programs are presented each fall by a committee called the Jackson County Junior Miss Association. DYW was formerly known as Junior Miss. Chairmen of the committee are George Sholl and Trish Bragg. Nicole Sullivan is choreographer. Elizabeth Beatty and Ellen Dixon are judge chairmen. Scholastic coordinator is Janet Beatty. Other committee members are Gracie Adams, Lori Adams, Lynda Ballard, Anna Grace Crump, Stephanie Crump, Penny Dearman, Michelle Dickerson, Robin Harrell, Lane Hoggard, Gayla McKee and Kurt Pedersen.


Written by Nancy Jo Maples

Nancy Jo Maples is an award-winning journalist who has written about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. A former daily staff news reporter for the Mississippi Press, she currently writes for various media and teaches communication at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Reach her at [email protected].


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