GREEN RIVER — The Distinguished Young Women Nationals competition may not have looked anything like it did in the past, but that didn’t stop Emmalee Skinner from enjoying the experience and making new friends.
Skinner, a 2021 Green River High School graduate, recently competed in the Distinguished Young Women Nationals competition, which took place virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision to host virtually was made after polling the participants and assessing all health-safety protocols amidst the ongoing global health crisis, according to Tara Principe, Distinguished Young Women marketing and communications director.
With the competition taking place virtually, Skinner didn’t know what to expect, but she prepared the best she could for the competition.
“It was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be with it being virtual,” Skinner said.
During the three-day 2021 competition, Skinner, and the other 49 competitors, competed in the following categories: scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression. The submissions were a combination of pre-recorded videos and live video conference calls.
Skinner said her favorite category to compete in was self expression because it gave her the opportunity to allow others to get to know her. For this part of the competition, all of the contestants were given a question to answer. Skinner’s was “What is one piece of advice you would give your middle-school self?”
Skinner said for her the answer was an easy one. She would have liked to have told herself not to worry about how other people perceive you and be friends with whoever you want instead of remaining in certain cliques.
After all of the submission and conference calls were completed, the top eight young women were announced. Even though Skinner didn’t make it into the top eight, she still enjoyed the whole experience. After seeing the other young women and how talented they were, she couldn’t help but cheer them on.
“I was so proud of them to make the top eight,” she said. “It was so fun to see them get excited about it all.”
The competition taught Skinner not only how to look at the world differently, but how to look at herself differently too. Skinner said she learned more about her own strengths and how to use them.
The most important thing was learning how to be more comfortable and confident with myself as a person.~ Emmalee Skinner
Skinner also learned important life skills, such as how to prepare for interviews, create a resume, keep track of a budget, and set goals.
As for any additional scholarship money, Skinner said she didn’t receive any. Only those who finished in the top five in each category received scholarships. In a competition with 49 other young women, Skinner said she wasn’t expecting to receive additional scholarships.
“You’re more likely not to get something than to get something,” Skinner said.
Overall, Skinner enjoyed the entire experience and is encouraging other high school juniors to think about competing.
“I would do it again if I could,” she said.
Skinner will be attending University of Wyoming in the fall and hopes to pursue a career as a dental hygienist.