10/09/11 — Cissi Denton is first Distinguishd Young Woman of Wayne County

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Cissi Denton is first Distinguishd Young Woman of Wayne County

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on October 9, 2011 1:50 AM

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The winners and past winners of the Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne County (formerly Junior Miss), from left, first runner-up Sara Boltinhouse, Junior Miss 201 Brooke Smith, Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne for 2012 Cissi Denton and second runner-up Emily Spengler.

Everyone in the auditorium knew what the outcome of the scholarship contest was as Cissi Denton stood in her heels on the stage surrounded by 10 other participants.

Having won in the interview, talent, scholastic, fitness and essay contest, everyone within earshot of the public address system knew Ms. Denton was about to become the first ever Distinguished Young Woman of Wayne County -- except for Ms. Denton.

For her, she was still trying to process receiving the spirit award, the one voted on by her fellow participants.

"I was still caught up in the feeling of being the spirit winner. To have the approval of these girls, that means almost as much as winning," she said of the moments leading up to the announcement of the winner.

And although it appeared she was hiding her smile behind a facade of stoicism, she said it wasn't because she knew she had won -- it was actually because she was trying not to crack up from her friends on the front row who were yelling out her name.

By the time she was enveloped in the throng of hugs and congratulations from her fellow competitors, Ms. Denton was carrying a garden of flowers, an award and a medallion naming her the first winner of the scholarship contest since the Junior Miss Scholarship Program changed its name to fight off the stereotypes associated with beauty pageants.

"Beauty is not a factor in the Junior Miss contest," Chairman Casey Chudy explained. "The term Distinguished Young Woman is more descriptive of what our program is about."

Ms. Denton concurred.

"It's not about beauty. It's about inner beauty," she said.

Still, each participant's beauty and talent shone brightly on the stage of Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College.

Ms. Denton, who performed Praeludium and Allegro on violin for her talent, was joined on stage by first runner-up Sara Boltinhouse and second runner-up Emily Spengler.

Ms. Boltinhouse sang "I'm Leaving On a Jet Plane," as sung by John Denver while Ms. Spengler performed "The Firefly" on piano.

Jessica Cunningham and Ms. Boltinhouse also won for interview, while Samantha Baker and Ms. Spengler won awards in talent. The remaining two scholastic awards went to Ms. Boltinhouse and Ms. Spengler, while Karly Derwitz and Ms. Boltinhouse won in the fitness category.

Ms. Boltinhouse, Ms. Spengler and Ms. Baker all won in self-expression.

Other participants in the contest included Katlyn Casey, Devon Raynor, Pauline Le, Amanda Rouse and Armani Perry.