Cleveland's Distinguished Young Women Kira Stander prepares for state program

Posted 7/10/19

Cleveland’s Distinguished Young Woman Kira Stander is preparing to represent the community at the state DYW competition next week.

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Cleveland's Distinguished Young Women Kira Stander prepares for state program


Cleveland’s Distinguished Young Woman Kira Stander is preparing to represent the community at the state DYW competition next week.

The Distinguished Young Woman program is a national scholarship program designed to inspire and “prepare young women for the world after high school.” Stander, who is a rising senior at Cleveland High School, was selected as Cleveland’s representative in the scholarship program in March.

The Pilot Club, which sponsors the local DYW program, is giving Stander a sendoff on Saturday, 2 to 3 p.m., at Peerless Road Church of God of Prophecy. Family, friends and supporters are invited to share good wishes and show support for Stander.

Stander said she is “excited” to be able to not only represent Cleveland, but to meet the girls from across the state and “sharing the experience through the competition.”
She learned about the program while putting up information on it at the CHS library, where she served as a library assistant.

“Anyone can be involved,” she said. “Even though it is a scholarship program, you don’t have to have amazing grades to compete. You get to meet new girls. It is something anyone will enjoy.”

“What I really like about the program was meeting the girls, who go to other schools. I would not have gotten to know them without the program,” she said.

Stander said, “The biggest thing I have learned from the program are the five key elements — to be healthy, to be involved, to be studious, to be ambitious and to be responsible.

Those five elements are emphasized in the program.

She noted the elements are “so easy to live by. They make you feel like you have done something.”

She has been prepping for the state competition. By doing mock interviews with Pilot Club members.
“I’ve been learning and working on my interview techniques,” she said.

She said, the judging on the interview is on how well you can articulate. “I give my opinion, but not be overbearing.”

“It definitely makes me more conscious about the way I present myself,” she said.

A sense of humor and being “in the moment” are also important, she noted.

The state DYW program sent her a video of the routines for the competition to practice. She has been working on them.

She has also been practicing her talent presentation. It will be a lyrical dance to “Young Girl Don’t Cry” by Christina Aguilera.

She said, the March competition was the first time she had performed a lyrical dance. She usually does hip-hop or jazz routines; however, she felt the lyrical fit the program style better.

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Stander said. She has made some changes to the dance to make it more difficult for the state contest.
She is involved in many activities in and out of school. Among her activities are participation in Tennessee Valley Early College program, Interact Club, Renaissance Show Choir, First Baptist Youth Choir, Recycle Bots, and Cleveland High School Theater. Stander is part of the dance team at Cleveland High School.
Other community volunteer efforts are with Boys & Girls Clubs, Trousdale School’s Night to Shine, and Multiple Dystrophy fundraising with Interact. She is also part of the National Society for High School Scholars.

The state Distinguished Young Women competition will be held Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, at the Dixon Center on the Lee University campus. Competition begins at 7 each night.

Tickets, which are $30 for one night and $55 for both night, if purchased as a package, will be available at the door.


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