Forest attends statewide DYW program

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Lowndes Academy senior Carolyn Jean Forest attended the statewide Distinguished Young Women (DYW) program last week. 

The annual scholarship competition promotes and rewards leadership, scholastics, and talent in young women. It is a smaller part of a national scholarship program that offers opportunities to make new friends, scholarships for higher education and personal development through DYW Life Skills Workshops. 

In order to be named DYW of Lowndes County, Forest competed with six candidates in a total of five categories: scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self expression. Forest won the overall as well as awards for the spirit, talent, fitness, self expression, and interview competitions. 

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She served as a little sister to Molly Powell, who ran for DYW of Lowndes County last year, and decided to run when her senior year came.

Forest won for Lowndes County and was prepared to compete for overall winner of DYW for the state when she got sick and had to be pulled from the competition. Tiffany Forest, who is Forest’s mother, said that she ended up having to pick her daughter up on Monday after the teen passed out. 

“We took her to Pri-Med and she ended up passing out and going into these convulsions so the ambulance gave her some fluids then told me that I could take her home. Well I took her home and took her back there Tuesday morning and she had another episode Tuesday night,” Tiffany said. “They called me and told me that they thought it would be better for her health to not participate but they still wanted her to come back so they could recognize her on Friday night.”

Although she wasn’t able to participate the entire time, the Lowndes Academy senior is still excited and grateful that she was able to make it that far. 

“DYW has not only allowed me to receive great scholarships, but it has also allowed me to make great friendships and connections,” Carolyn Jean said. “This experience has truly allowed me and is still enabling me to be my best self.”

Tiffany had great things to say about Carolyn Jean and her accomplishments. 

“It’s been a real emotional time because we went through a lot to get her ready and she was so excited for this opportunity. She’s such a great girl and has accomplished so much, not only this year but throughout her high school career,” Tiffany said. “When she was in the 10th grade, I had to have a kidney transplant and she took such good care of me and I’m so thankful for her. In the 11th grade, she won Homecoming Attendant and then in the 12th grade, she went to Girls State and won ‘mayor’ of her state. She was awarded several scholarships along with the leadership award, Homecoming Queen, and the county DYW. I am so proud of her because even though she’s done all these things and had so many great accomplishments, she always puts the Lord first in everything she does. Her family means so much to her and even with all the things that have happened, she never loses her focus on what really matters.”