Delaney Debinski, a junior at Century High School, is a member of the school's drama club, a student in the National Honor Society and a leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Now the 16-year-old Sykesville resident has another title to add to her resume: Distinguished Young Woman of Carroll County.
Debinski was named the 2017 Distinguished Young Woman of Carroll County on Jan. 30, after competing against other girls in Carroll County. In addition to the title, she also received a $2,800 scholarship for college.
Girls competing in the Distinguished Young Woman competition must impress judges during an interview section in which the girls answer questions from judges; a talent portion; a fitness routine; and a scholastic part, which includes judges looking at their grades and extracurriculars.
Debinski is joined by classmate Grace Lowe, who was named the Distinguished Young Woman of Greater Westminster. The two will go on to represent the county at a statewide competition in July.
The Carroll County Times met with Debinski to learn more about the Distinguished Young Women program and representing the county.
Q: First, tell me what Distinguished Young Woman of Carroll County is?
The Distinguished Young Woman program is a nation-wide program, and this is the local program in Carroll County. It's a way for juniors in high schools to get scholarships for college and to gain leadership skills and experience and to build relationships. Also to learn different skills, such as interviewing and self-representation or how to speak in public and things like that.
Q: Tell me a little about what you had to do to become the representative for Carroll County?
So first I applied online and then I got the email confirmation. Then I went to an interest meeting about and met the other girls and learned more about it. Then on the day before the program, we all met and we had a rehearsal at the school, at Francis Scott Key High School. The day of the program we rehearsed the fitness routine and we prepared for that section of the performance, and also conducted the interview and then on the day of, after the interviews, we learned the questions for the self-expression portion and we ended up going on stage. We started with an intro and lined up in our numbered order and we each stated our name and our high school and then we went right into the fitness section, which is 15 percent of the total score. Then we went into the talent portion, and it this point the interview and scholastic portion of the program were already judged, and they were already done. So after talent we went into the self-expression, which is when you walk onstage and you answer a question and it's mainly about a current event or something like 'what's the best piece of advice you have received.' Then at the end everyone lines up onstage and awards are given out and your title.
Q: Just describe what the fitness, the scholastic and the talent parts are.
So the scholastic is the portion, it's what they focus on. It's your grades and your academics. The fitness is a way to show that you're balanced, not only in academics and extracurriculars but in fitness. Then the talent portion is a 90-second display of what the woman wants to focus on or something they want to show to the judges.
Q: So what did you do for your talent?
For my talent, I speed painted. I painted a lion upside in 90 seconds to the song the Circle of Life. And at the end of the 90-seconds, I flipped it over and there was a lion.
Q: Being the representative for Carroll County, what does that mean to you?
It means to me that I am now going to serve as the Distinguished Young Woman of Carroll County and I'll be able to work with girls in the community, such as the Boys and Girls Club of Carroll County and I will also be working with the Distinguished Young Woman of Greater Westminster. We will work together to grow in our leadership skills and develop as women and also inspire younger women and lead women to be part of the program and to focus on the five pillars of the program of the Be Your Best Self program. This also means we get to go to the state program and we work with all the women who have won their own local programs.
Q: And what are the five pillars?
The five elements of the Be Your Best Self program are being healthy, which means to be both physically fit and drug free, and also to be involved in the community, to be studious and to continue learning, to be ambitious and be responsible. So that's to be healthy, to be involved, to be studious, to be ambitious and be responsible.
Q: In terms of the Distinguished Young Woman program, what do you think being the representative means to the county?
I think that I will be working within the county to benefit the community and work with the community as a whole to not only build up the Distinguished Young Woman program and get more students invovled because this year we had six girls who got two major scholarships and every woman leaves with a scholarship of at least $150. I think that the Distinguished Young Woman program can become more involved in the county and serve more in different community-based activies and do a lot of work through charity.
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Q: Any thoughts of what colleges you might be interested in?
I have a wide range of colleges. I am interested in pursuing occupational therapy or art therapy and there are a limited number of colleges that offer that. However, I am looking at a lot of schools in Alabama because the Distinguished Young Woman program offers many scholarships throughout the entire nation and some of them are based in Alabama. I think going there would give me a new experience unlike in Maryland to learn more and build new relationships out of my comfort zone. I could also use the scholarship that I could possibly earn or potentially earn from Distinguished Young Women to help me with my education there.
Q: So why occupational therapy or art therapy?
I enjoy working with students with special needs and I started serving at my church, at the lifeone church in the HUGS, or the Help for Uniquely Gifted Souls ministry. I was able to learn that's where my gifts are and that's where my passion is to work for people with special needs and treat them as if they don't have special needs and focus on their abilities instead of what people focus on as what they're not capable of.