A Distinguished Young Woman: Pannell sets herself apart from competitors


Cadi Pannell

Cadi Pannell, MSMS senior, represents Lee County as a Distinguished Young Woman.

Lexi Holdiness, Staff Writer

Every year, Distinguished Young Women (DYW) selects a handful of female high school applicants to compete in a scholarship program. This year, MSMS senior Cadi Pannell entered the program for the opportunities and networking that it could provide, she said.

Based on Pannell’s experience, the DYW competition has a congenial environment in comparison to other competitions. The girls in this competition tend to share a sense of compassion and support for each other, setting it apart from other scholarship programs. The week consisted of long practices and meetings, but the girls were allowed minimal stress. Outside worries were eliminated, so each girl could focus on themselves and their performances.

“It was one of the most peaceful weeks of my life,” Pannell said. “They had dinner planned out two days in advance; you don’t have to think about it. You have places you need to be and practices you have to get to, but you don’t have to worry about school or friends. You weren’t obligated to do literally anything besides having your stuff together for practice.”

The competition consists of five categories: the interview, scholastics, talent, fitness performance and self-expression. Each category involves its own unique act. The most important categories to Pannell, interview and talent, allowed her to truly represent herself. For her talent, Pannell performed a science experiment. She was the only one to perform anything of the sort, setting her apart from everyone else.

“I was the most excited and nervous about the interview portion,” Pannell said. “It sets the tone for the entire competition. I really wanted to show them that I look smart and I’m from a smart school and that it’s not all there is to me. I wanted to show them that I am well-rounded, and show what is behind the whole ‘Oh, this girl is from MSMS.’”