Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Distinguished Young Women arrive in Westminster

Twelve Maryland girls, each wearing a medal, gathered in The Carroll County Non-Profit Center July 10 and listened to a presentation about being who they wanted to be from the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, a nonprofit that works for student achievement and education reform.
The girls are contestants in the Distinguished Young Women of Maryland competition to be held Saturday at Carroll Community College in Westminster. Each represents an area from Maryland. Over the week, the girls rehearsed different routines and volunteered around Westminster.
The girls will participate in interviews, participate in routines and perform talents as part of the show, which begins at 7 p.m.
The interview portion is Distinguished Young Woman of Carroll County Margo Huffman's favorite part of the competition, she said.
"Because I get to have a real conversation with the judges and let them get to know me," Huffman said.
Distinguished Young Women is a scholarship program for young women. The program gives out scholarships through colleges as well as cash scholarships, according to the program's website.
Aleksandra Knepper, Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland 2013, received a scholarship to the University of South Alabama after competing in the national competition, she said. She will attend the school in the fall, having accepted a week and half ago, she said.
The national competition introduced Knepper to the Southern culture, which she looks forward living in during college.
"It has been life changing," Knepper said of the Distinguished Young Women program.
This year, two girls are from Carroll County. Huffman, 17, represents the county as a whole, while Rebecca Debinski, 16, represents Greater Westminster.
"I definitely learned that how I present myself is important because I do represent Greater Westminster," Debinski said.
Debinski first heard about the program while looking up scholarship opportunities over winter break, she said.
Although they still have another year in high school, both girls looked at colleges. Huffman wants to go into pediatric oncology and is interested in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the University of Maryland College Park and the University of Alabama.
"My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and I also just really love children, I think I have a real connection with them," she said. "So I think those combined have gotten me interested in pediatric oncology."
The incoming senior at Winter Mills High School is in the Carroll County Career and Tech Center for the biomedical sciences program and plans to major in biology or biomedical sciences.
Debinski plans to go into elementary school education and is looking at Mount St. Mary's University and Furman University.
"I want to be an elementary school teacher because I love kids," Debinski said.
They will both perform dances as their talent. Huffman will perform a jazz and sassy techno dance to "Distortia" by David Guetta, she said. Debinski will perform "Wavin' Flag (Coca-Cola Celebration Mix)" by K'naan, a dance that Debinski's mother said lets Debinski express herself.
"I'm just really proud that Rebecca has always stayed true to herself," Janet Debinski said.
Both girls approached their parents about the program.
Huffman's mother Robyn is proud of her daughter for her participation and wishes more girls knew about the opportunity, she said.
"I'm most proud that Margo will try anything," she said.