Dakota Callaway of Braggs competing for DYW state title

Published 2:09 pm Monday, January 16, 2017

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Strength, intelligence, talent, self-confidence, moral fiber, an ability to inspire and lead and a combination of grace and graciousness under pressure are some of the qualities that the Distinguished Young Women Program seeks in its participants.

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Dakota Callaway, a 17-year-old senior at Lowndes Academy and daughter of Fay and Matthew Callaway of Braggs, measured up to those standards winning the right to represent Lowndes County at a combined Butler/Lowndes program held at the Ritz Theater in Greenville last July. And this weekend as the Distinguished Young Woman for Lowndes County, Callaway is competing in the 60th annual Alabama Distinguished Young Women Program set for Jan. 20-21 at Fazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery.

The participant selected this coming weekend will advance to the national level at the 60th Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile, Ala. On June 29th-July 1, 2017.

Calloway is a student athlete and SGA representative. At the combined Butler/Lowndes program last July, she received the Scholastic and Talent Awards in addition to her Lowndes County title

She earned a total of $1,300 in cash tuition scholarship monies.

A church pianist at Midway Baptist, Callaway performed Rachmaninoff’s challenging “Russian Concerto” for the county level talent competition. She said she will play that same concerto at the state event.

When contacted by the Signal, Callaway was asked if he was nervous about being in the state program. She responded, “Right now, it’s a little stressful.”

But, she said, “All the routines are coming together, and I’m not too nervous as of yet. But I’m sure the nerves will kick in Friday.”

When asked how she felt about representing Lowndes County, Callaway said, “Honestly, I came in underestimating the state program.”

She explained, “I didn’t know much about the program when I first joined the county. And then when I got into it, and I won, I started getting more information on what it was going to be. I got here and I was kind of blown away.”

Now, she said, “I am like really excited that I’m here.”

As to a college major, Callaway said she is a little undecided, but is focusing on something in business, business management or finance. She said she is pretty sure she plans to attend the University of Alabama.

The 49 young women competing at the state program will be evaluated by a panel of five judges in the following categories, scholastic 25 percent, interview 25 percent, fitness 15 percent, self-expression 15 percent and Talent 20 percent.

Tickets are available for Friday Jan. 20 at 7:30 or $17 and Saturday afternoon Jan. 21 at 1:30 p.m. for $17 and Saturday night, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. for $30. A weekend pass is $55.

For more information on tickets email AlabamaDYWtickets@gmail.com. Tickets will be sold until each show sells out.