By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Leah Humble, the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2018, recently returned to Cleveland to attend the city's local DYW scholarship competition. Since she won the state title in …
Leah Humble, the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2018, recently returned to Cleveland to attend the city's local DYW scholarship competition.
Since she won the state title in Cleveland last summer, she has stayed "extremely busy" finishing up her high school studies while fulfilling her role as the state's Distinguished Young Woman.
"It has been a really hectic year, but things have been going pretty well," Humble said.
The Sevierville native is now an 18-year-old high school senior. She stays busy at school, as she is the captain of her school's dance team and is involved with the Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and student government.
She has also been championing Distinguished Young Women's "Be Your Best Self" message while serving as the state title-holder.
This scholarship program, which for years was known as Junior Miss, evaluates high school girls on in the areas of Scholastics, Interview, Talent, Fitness and Self-Expression.
Humble said she likes that it promotes women being "really, really well-rounded" individuals who have a lot to contribute to society.
"All these areas are really focused on women's empowerment, which continues to be a really important cause today," said Humble.
Having heard about the competition from her dance teacher and others who had competed on the local level, she decided to enter the local competition. To her surprise, she won and was given the chance to compete at that state competition in Cleveland last summer.
"It was a really great experience," Humble said. "The best part was the friendships. I met some of the most amazing young women there. Winning was really just icing on the cake — as cheesy as that sounds."
As summer approaches, she is anticipating two major milestones in her life. In May, she will graduate from high school. Later in the summer, she will also head to Mobile, Ala., in June to vie for the title of Distinguished Young Woman of America.
Preparing for the national competition will require many hours of practice, Humble said. She has participated in many mock interviews, dance practices and more in her effort to represent Tennessee well.
She also hopes to add the college scholarships she received after winning her local and state titles. Though she is not 100 percent set on her college choice, but she is making plans to attend college in the fall to study political science.
As the Cleveland Distinguished Young Women competition was getting ready to start Saturday, she reflected on what it was like for her to prepare for her first DYW competition.
"I have seen my confidence improve so much since that time," Humble said. "I really think this experience has made me a more well-rounded person, and I think these girls will find that is true for them, too."
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