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Kara Clifton named 2022 Distinguished Young Woman of St. Clair County

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Kara Clifton

Kara Clifton was named the Distinguished Young Woman of St. Clair County for 2022.

Kara Clifton of Moody was named the 2022 Distinguished Young Woman of St. Clair County over the weekend. She will compete in the state competition in January 2022.

“When my name was called, I was completely shocked. I gave Caroline (Skellett, last year's winner) the biggest smile, and my immediate thought was that I was, ‘Now I’m able to compete at the state program,’” Clifton said.

She added, “I am thrilled and so honored to be named Distinguished Young Woman of St. Clair County for 2022. These program preparation weeks have been so rewarding and I have made so many memories and friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

Local volunteers for the local program awarded $7350 in scholarships to six seniors from four area high schools. Jefferson State Community College also awarded a two-year full tuition scholarship to the new local representative — the 15th year that this award, valued at $14,760, has been offered. 

Friends, families and area businesses contributed to the Alabama Junior Miss Scholarship Foundation, which administers the scholarships to the colleges of choice for the participants. 

Kristin Soltis Curry served as emcee for the event and special entertainment was provided by Caroline Skellett, Distinguished Young Woman of St. Clair County for 2021 and Samantha Hennings, last year’s runner-up. 

Participants are evaluated in interview (25 percent), scholastics (25 percent), talent (20 percent), fitness (15 percent), and self-expression (15 percent). 

The breakdown of scholarships awarded:

—Spirit award: $200 to Kara Clifton

—Be Your Best Self essay: $250 each to Sarah Kate Potter and Maggie Graben

—Self-expression: $250 each to MattiLynn Prince and Kara Clifton

—Fitness: $250 each to Kara Clifton and Ariana Gilles

—Talent: $350 each to Ariana Gilles, Kara Clifton, Lauren Kilgore

—Scholastics: $400 each to Kara Clifton and Sarah Kate Potter

—Interview: $400 each to Kara Clifton and Lauren Kilgore

—Runner-up: $1,000 to Sarah Kate Potter

—Distinguished Young Woman of St. Clair County: $2,000 to Kara Clifton

“As always, our committee enjoys working with our participants," local program volunteer and chairman Kathy Ronderos said. "They are intelligent, talented, hard-working and committed to being their best selves. Kara will represent St. Clair County well, and we look forward to her exciting year ahead. She is distinguished in every way.”

Tina Humphries, Clifton's grandmother, added, “We are thankful and blessed to be able to share Kara with our county. She is gifted in being able to bring out the best in others, and she loves this program and what it represents.”

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. The mission is to empower young women by providing more than $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, developing their self-confidence and participating in our Life Skills Workshops that prepare them for success after high school. 

National sponsors include Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, Mobile County, City of Mobile, Alabama Power Foundation, Shoe Station, Gant Travel Management, Wellington and Bonnie Coffeen, Regions Financial Corporation, Jostens and Alabama Media Group. 

For more information about Distinguished Young Women, contact Tara Principe, National Headquarters Marketing and Communications Director, at 251-438-3621 or Tara@DistinguishedYW.org or visit www.DistinguishedYW.org.