McMinn County has a new Distinguished Young Woman and she is Anna Hudson.

The Distinguished Young Women event was performed virtually this year in an effort to uphold the tradition while also keeping everyone involved safe from COVID-19.

The event took place on Friday, May 22, and Saturday, May 23, and Hudson, a McMinn County High School student, was named the 2022 Distinguished Young Woman.

There were seven contestants this year and they were: Hudson, Kendall Harmoni Heath, Hadley Jane Moree, Emily Grace Miller, Alice Grace Whiteney Beavers, Taylor Alexis Queen and Cora Jade Wilson.

“We filmed the talent, self expression and the fitness categories on Friday and then the girls conducted their live in-time interviews on that Saturday,” said Event Director Jackie Newman. “We have a videographer who will compile all of it together and then we will post it on a website later for everyone to see.”

The program will be available to watch beginning June 4 and Newman noted that the event was a challenge to perform this year due to it being virtual.

“Just like anything else in this past year, we took it on and hope that it will be a great success,” she expressed. “We do have a representative for our county and we will move along with that.”

Newman believes the event will return to how it is normally performed next year.

“This event is a tried and true program that has been around for 60 years and it gives these girls such confidence and it is also a scholarship program as well,” Newman expressed. “It is just incredible what this event does for their self confidence and their interview experience, which is a real world experience.”

Newman added that she greatly appreciates the help of the sponsors this year, especially due to the program having to operate in a non-traditional way due to the pandemic.

“We still appreciate our sponsors for sticking with us through our virtual program in hopes that we will see them again in November,” she said. “We really do appreciate the community support and the support we have received from the Optimist Club of Athens for continuing to hold this tradition.”

Sponsored annually by the Optimist Club of Athens, Distinguished Young Women (formerly known as Junior Miss) awards college scholarships to young women who have distinguished themselves at school and in their communities. It is a local preliminary for the state and national Distinguished Young Women programs.

Email shane.duncan@

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