by Tara Moore
Wow, I can’t believe it is officially 2017! As the year 2016 and my Christmas break come to a close, I can’t help but look back and appreciate the many blessings and opportunities I have been given. (I also know that when I get back to Clemson and back into school mode I am going to mess up writing the date more times than I can count).
The year 2016 was one of the biggest years of my life, so 2017 has a lot to live up to. I completed my senior year of high school and graduated as the Valedictorian of my class which was a major goal of mine. I also performed in my final dance recital as I completed my 15 years of dance as a competition dancer at Upstate Carolina Dance Center. Academics and dance have always been two of the most important aspects of my life, so this was the close of a huge chapter in my life. In 2016, I also had the privilege of representing my school as I was crowned Miss Powdersville High in the school pageant and was awarded the “Best All Around” senior superlative. Being recognized by my peers was truly an honor and a memory I will always cherish.
In this busy year, I also had the opportunity to audition for my college dance team, the Clemson Rally Cats. This has always been a dream of mine, as I have grown up around Clemson football. To finally be a part of a team I admire so much is very special. I completed my first semester of college while balancing my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. College is filled with so many new people and experiences which I have witnessed through my sorority and life on campus.
Finally, a major event in 2016 that changed my life for the better was the Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile, AL. I stepped out of my comfort zone and spent two weeks with 50 other amazing girls from all across the country. Little did I know that being awarded the title of the Distinguished Young Woman of America would present me with so many amazing opportunities and open so many doors in my life. I have had the privilege of traveling back to Mobile for Veteran’s Day, and I am looking forward to my upcoming trips to the Senior Bowl and New York to promote the national outreach program, “Be Your Best Self”.
As 2016 marked a major milestone, many of these moments were just the beginning for me. As for my high school, I will have the opportunity to go back and emcee my high school pageant as the reigning representative. At Clemson, I will continue to dance at home football and basketball games and be an ambassador for the university that I love so much. Not to mention, Clemson is also playing in the National Championship game and the winner will be determined in 2017!
In school, I am continuing to pursue a degree in the health field and complete my freshman year of college. Finally, as for Distinguished Young Women, I will complete my year as the DYW of America for 2016 and pass the gold medal on to a very deserving young lady. I am looking forward to all that 2017 has to offer and believing the best is yet to come. I know that just like any year there will be ups and downs, but I can’t wait to begin 2017 and have a fresh start… maybe even beginning with a big Tiger win! Wishing everyone a Happy New Year filled with love and laughter.