COLUMBIA CITY — Corinne Kauffman, a senior at Columbia City High School, will represent Whitley County at the Distinguished Young Woman state program in Kokomo.
Kauffman is the 48th representative of the local program of DYW and will participate in a preliminary competition Thursday and Friday and a final competition Saturday.
“I am really looking forward to the overall experience and meeting new people,” Kauffman said. “Getting the chance to represent my county is a real honor.”
Both performances are at 7 p.m. in the Havens Auditorium of Indiana University of Kokomo, 2300 S. Washington St., Kokomo.
Admission for each of the preliminary nights is $10. The final competition admission price is $15.
At the completion of Friday night’s competition, two overall winners will be named for the talent, fitness and self-expression categories.
Kauffman will display her talent through a performance piece where she will sing and play the piano. Her song of choice is “Not for A Moment,” originally recorded by contemporary-Christian artist Meredith Andrews.
Eight finalists will be named as well as first, second and third runners-up. The two overall winners in Scholastics and Panel Interview categories and the Spirit Award winner will also be named.
“I am going to do my best,” Kauffman said. “If I give it my all, then I don’t have to worry about if I win or not. I will be proud to know I did my best.”
Kauffman will perform her talent at the Thursday evening competition. Friday evening she will compete in the fitness and self expression categories.
Each evening the participants will perform an opening number which has a beach theme and then introduce themselves. Each participant also introduces her roommate’s talent presentation.
“I am so excited about my roommate,” Kauffman said. “We have so much in common.”
Brittani Howell, Clinton County’s DYW is Kauffman’s roommate for the week. The pair will stay in the home of Greg and Beth Kuhlman who also housed last year’s DYW of Whitley County, Michaela Thomas.
Thomas has been available to advise Kauffman in preparation of the week’s program.
“Michaela told me to not be afraid to experience it all,” Kauffman said. “She encouraged me to go and soak it all up.”
Another key person to help Kauffman be at her best is Whitley County’s DYW Co-Coordinator, Pam Thompson.
“We, the board of directors and the coordinators, of Whitley County DYW have continued the same traditions with Corinne as with those who came before her,” said Thompson. “For 48 years we have held Junior Miss and DYW at Columbia City High School. The very stage Corinne was named DYW is the very stage the first Junior Miss was named. There is a lot of history here.”
Planning for the week’s events has added to the already full schedule Kauffman keeps. As an active member of CCHS’s show choir, theater department as well as other activities on and off campus, Kauffman tackles her schedule one thing at a time.
“I just make room for the things I have to do,” she said.
In addition to gleaning words of advice from previous DYW, Kauffman also practiced her interview skills and refined her talent.
“Pam has been great to work with. She’s really helped prepare me as much as she can,” Kauffman said. “Of course, my family is really supportive to and they try to offer me constructive criticism when they can.”
Personal contact with the participants is not allowed during the week of DYW. The only contact allowed is through the U.S. Postal Service. Cards and letters should be addressed to Distinguished Young Woman Program, Corrine Kauffman, # 11, Whitley County’s DYW, P.O. Box 4028, Kokomo IN 46904.
The coordinators, Anne Titus and Thompson, will be attending the state program each evening. Individuals wishing to send gift items with the coordinators may call 244-7467.
“The members of the board and coordinators of Whitley County DYW hope that Corinne has a productive week,” said Thompson. “There are so many opportunities available to her as well as the prospect of winning a scholarship. Of course, she has the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and meeting many new people. This will be a most meaningful week of her life, and we wish her the very best.”
When returning home Sunday, March 3 Kauffman will be the guest of honor at a welcome home party 4 to 6 p.m. at the Whitley County Community Foundation. The public is welcome to attend.