Pruyne chosen as OYW: Fifteen participate in annual program
Lauren Pruyne of Athens was named the 2014 Bradford/Sullivan County Outstanding Young Woman following a three-hour program Saturday night in Towanda.
Pruyne, a senior at Athens Area High School, received top marks from the judging panel at Saturday's program at Towanda High School. In addition to the title of Outstanding Young Woman, Pruyne received a $4,000 scholarship to the school of her choice.
The daughter of Tom and Lori Pruyne of Athens, Pruyne is a member of the National Honor Society, student council, swim and cross country teams, drama club and dances with Perkins School of the Arts. She aided in flood cleanup in Sept. 2011, volunteering with the American Red Cross.
Pruyne hopes to attend Penn State University with a focus on food and nutrition science.
This year's two contestants from Sullivan County High School swept the first and second runner-up titles. Rachael Choplick was selected as first runner-up and won the presence and presentation and interview awards. Choplick also received the Patricia Parsons Spirit Award. Judges named Shelby Minier second runner-up and also awarded her top scores for the aerobics and fitness and performing arts categories.
Taylor Burnham of Wyalusing Valley High School was named third runner-up. Sophie Poost, also representing WVHS, was named fourth runner-up and winner of the scholastic and achievement award and the Keystone Award, which is chosen by the OYW candidates.
WVHS student Connor Dietz received the inaugural Sue Stanton Community Service award, given to a finalist who has shown an interest in community service.
The winner of the Outstanding Young Woman title is selected based on five categories, each counting for 20 percent of her score. Prior to the annual program, each candidate participates in a 10-minute interview, and her academic and community achievements are evaluated and scored.
During the program, each candidate participates in a presence and presentation segment in which they are evaluated on their grace moving about the stage. Each candidate also answers a question based on her activities, interests and favorites.
Candidates also participate in a several-minute choreographed aerobics routine in which judges evaluate their physical well-being, stamina, coordination and agility.
Each also demonstrated a talent in the performing arts. Talents ranged from dancing and singing to monologue performance, a martial arts demonstration, instrumental performances and a self-composed rap.
This year's program, themed "Here Comes the Sun" and featuring several songs by the Beatles, was hosted by 2004 OYW Laura Smith-Gary and outgoing OYW Hailey Innocenzo.
In her farewell speech, Innocenzo expressed her gratitude for the experiences the program has afforded her in the past year. Innocenzo, who is studying biomedical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, shared a recent piece of advice from a professor.
The professor told students that students should approach homework with the attitude that they have the opportunity to do it, not that they have to do it, Innocenzo said. The same perspective applies to her time as Outstanding Young Woman, she said, adding that she felt blessed and fortunate to have the opportunities given to her as OYW.
This year's 15 candidates also included Kyra Aseline and Reagan Martin of Athens Area High School, Courtney Binford and Danielle Newman of Troy High School, McKenzi Millard and Courtney Norman of Wyalusing Valley High School, Ruth Conklin and Soleil Eagan of Towanda Area High School and Julie Cooper of Northeast Bradford High School.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.