Four decades of distinguished young women in Humboldt County

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Five young ladies, all from Fortuna, have signed up to participate in this year's Humboldt County Distinguished Young Woman (DYW) program. Young ladies in Humboldt County who are high school juniors are being encouraged to participate in the program to compete for scholarships, meet new people, and have fun.

Gwen Christiansen of Fortuna and Haley Dillard of Rio Dell, last year's Humboldt County Distinguished Young Women will be visiting some high schools in Humboldt County to generate interest in the program, according to Lisa Losey, Humboldt County DYW coordinator. "I am hoping we get some girls from other high schools," Losey said, "as this is a county wide program."

The first step is to apply and then attend an informational meeting, which will take place locally on Feb. 18. Young ladies interested in participating are asked to register by applying online at the Distinguished Young Women website (

"This year is the 40th annual program in Humboldt County," Losey said. "Ours is one of the longest continually running programs in the state of California."

One of the significant aspects of the program is the scholarships that are awarded to the participants.

"Since 2000, the Humboldt County program has awarded more than $48,000 in scholarships," Losey said. "Some of the goals of the program are to encourage our participants to step outside of their comfort zone, try something that they may not have done before, and interact with other girls with similar goals and ambitions."

She said public speaking abilities and interview skills are important aspects of the program.

"The ability to effectively communicate is knowledge that will assist them in the future," Losey said.

The first practice for Humboldt County DYW will be held March 1 and the competition will take place April 5 at the Winema Theater in Scotia. The winners will attend the California DYW competition in July.

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

The 40th Annual Humboldt County Distinguished Young Woman program will be held in April at the Winema Theater in Scotia