New DYW Courtney Miller believes program is an ‘uplifting’ experience
by By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer
Jul 22, 2013 | 1564 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Banner photo, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
COURTNEY MILLER, the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2014, poses for a photo with her family. From left are parents J.D. and Joanna, older sister Alexis and Miller.
Banner photo, CHRISTY ARMSTRONG COURTNEY MILLER, the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2014, poses for a photo with her family. From left are parents J.D. and Joanna, older sister Alexis and Miller.
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Courtney Miller covered her mouth in shock as her name was called Saturday night.

She was named the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee at the evening’s event at the Dixon Center at Lee University.

Originally from Colorado Springs, Colo., Miller is currently living in Tullahoma, which she represented as the Distinguished Young Woman of Cumberland Valley.

She said she got involved with her local program at the recommendation of one of her schoolteachers, and the rest was history.

While she said she has been involved in similar programs in the past, Miller said Distinguished Young Women was different than any she had experienced before.

The emphasis was not on looks, she said, but other factors like staying healthy and speaking her mind.

“It’s definitely uplifting,” she said. “It’s more about being a real girl than something others want you to be.”

She said it also allowed her to gain things like job interview skills and the confidence that comes from overcoming the intimidation of dancing in front of and speaking to a large audience.

Winning the state competition also provided her with $3,000 in college scholarship money. She also received $500 for each of the three competition categories — Interview, Fitness and Scholastics — she won.

When she is not doing activities related to Distinguished Young Women, she said in her free time she enjoys practicing gymnastics, camping and fishing. The talent she showcased at the state competition was one incorporating gymnastics.

Miller is one of two siblings. Her 17-year-old sister, Alexis, also shares her love of gymnastics and has competed with her in the past. Their father J.D. is a logistics lead at the U.S. Army's Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. Her mother, Joanna, describes herself as a homemaker.

She and her family will spend the next several months preparing for the national competition to see who will become the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2014. It will take place next June in Mobile, Ala.

In the meantime, she said she will continue to reflect on her state experience.

“I’m still in shock,” Miller said summing up her state of mind. “I still don’t know how to put it into words.”

But she said she did want to thank everyone who made it possible for her to compete in the state competition. In addition to her family, she said she appreciated the support of her host family, Robert and Ramona Thompson; board members from both the Cumberland Valley and state DYW programs; and the city of Cleveland as a whole.