Distinguished Young Women – Chapter 3

By Norwood Walker

(Click here to read first story in this series: Junior Miss to Distinguished Young Women)

When the 25 participants in this year’s Roxboro’s Distinguished Young Women’s Program take the stage at the Kirby on Saturday, September 21, 2019, they will have much in common with previous participants. For the young women of the past 20 programs, that common thread is Christi Lappin.

I have known Christi since she was in junior high school. When she took on the responsibility of the choreography and teaching it to the class of 2000 contestants in the then Junior Miss Program, I got to know her better. From mid-July of 1999, her name was mentioned more in our household than any other. Her first year was the year my daughter participated in the program, and several years later when my daughter became involved as co-chair it was more of the same. Always words of high praise, not just for the skillful choreography, but her patience and dedication in teaching it to every girl and helping them be their best selves.

Let Christi tell you in her own words about her involvement with the program:

“I was in the program with the class of 1991 when there was a name change to Young Woman of the Year. I had always wanted to participate. My family faithfully attended every program, as they still do, so I was excited when my year came along. I won preliminaries in Fitness, Poise (as it was called back then) and talent. I remember the interview being the scariest part for me. An election was near so I learned about politics a little more than I actually cared to know. Overall, as a participant, you learn a lot about yourself! Just learning how to handle the interview is so helpful. As I said before, it forces you to consider some life questions or opinions that most 17- or 18-year old’s don’t sit around pondering. Poise (Self Expression is the title now) is also a great moment of public speaking. They say not to memorize your on-stage response but I can still recite my “message to the troops in Saudi Arabia” perfectly!! I guess a little memorization isn’t all that bad!

Years later, I had completed my college degree with a BFA in Dance from East Carolina and was home teaching dance in Roxboro and Durham. I was asked if I would be the choreographer for the program and accepted immediately. This was before I owned and operated my own dance school so it was a great chance to independently take on a project myself. This was TWENTY years ago and I am about to head in as choreographer for the 21st time. That’s a loooong time but I truly love it and love what the program stands for. I’ve seen countless Chairmen come and go, had the opportunity to get to know hundreds of amazing young girls, and just be a part of a thriving program that our county has always supported fully! In twenty years, I’ve seen the name change, the hardworking committee change, countless theme ideas and routines have changed but this program is a constant! Our little town of Roxboro is full of smart and talented young ladies and I love that this program provides them the opportunity to share it, grow from it, and, to some, win awesome scholarships!”

Sunday afternoon practices will begin at Christi’s Dance Studio on July 14 and continue until they move to the Kirby about two weeks before the big night. Just like for my daughter 20 years ago, they will meet and get to know a very dedicated person to help them become their best selves. Participants, chairs, and even Jaycees have changed over the past 20 years. But fortunately for all of Person County young women, Christi remains committed to the program.

We have 25 participants this year. The show will be Saturday, September 21, 2019 at the Kirby. The theme this year is “We Will Rock You!” The show will be tied together with many of the greatest rock hits from the 80s. Tickets will be available for purchase from the participants closer to the date of the show. Please check www.hycolakemagazine.com for updates on the participants and information on tickets as the program nears.

Norwood Walker has spent much of the last 60 years in a classroom on one side of the desk or the other. Loving to write poetry and stories in high school, his English teacher of 3 years once told him he might become a writer if he overcame his radical period. She is still waiting. He can be reached at norwoodwalker@gmail or Rainbow’s End on Facebook.