Distinguished Young Women of Tennessee participants faced one of the most nervous moments of the competition Thursday — the interview.
Each girl stood before a panel of five judges and answered questions for 10 minutes.
Judges Janice Walton, Renee Maxwell, Donna French, Ken Maxwell and Debbie Howard took turns asking questions.
The panel of judges came from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Judges were given brief biographies of the girls from which to develop questions.
The judges prepared for the format with a mock interview with the 2014 Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee Courtney Miller.
Questions ranged from explaining her talent presentation to college plans to her views on sororities.
Miller described her talent as an “acrobatic dance routine,” which combines dance and gymnastics.
French asked what she would remember most about the competition. Miller responded saying it was the volunteer and friendship experiences.
College plans for Miller include attending Motlow State Community College and then Middle Tennessee State University to study business.
Questions sometimes built on another question to get more information.
For example, a question about college led to another question about whether Miller would want to work for someone else or own her own business.
“One of my greatest dreams is to own my own gymnastics center,” Miller said.
Ken Maxwell asked what she thought the biggest challenge for her generation after graduation would be. She said dealing with the economy and finding a job.
One of Walton’s questions asked if Miller thought it was still worth it for people to go to college.
Miller said college was not just about education but about the experience, life skills and other preparation for the future.
She was also asked how important sororities were.
“There are sororities that are based on service and education and they have certain guidelines. Then, there are sororities that are just about partying,” Miller said. “I think if you are going to join a sorority, you really need to focus on the one that has service and be involved.”
During each interview, judges score the contestant based on her answers. The final interview score accounts for 25 percent of the girl’s final score
Judges began interviews at 10 a.m. and ended at about 4 p.m.