Back in Sweet Home Alabama

By Rachel Williams
Distinguished Young Woman of New Mexico for 2011
It feels so good being back in Sweet Home Alabama—where the tea is sweet and the accents are sweeter! It hardly feels like it’s been a whole year since it was the class of 2011 on the Civic Center’s stage. Just today, when I was watching the current Distinguished Young Women representatives rehearse on the stage, I thought I recognized some of my 2011 girls working on their kicks and practicing their sways for a few fleeting seconds. It has been a bittersweet experience to only have fifteen, including Katye Brock (Distinguished Young Woman of America 2011) of the original fifty girls back, but I wouldn’t trade it for all the Dew Drop hotdogs in the world. Being a Has Been and being presented with the opportunity to meet and encourage 3 or 4 girls is such a blessing. 
Left to right: Paige (Kentucky), Sierra (New Mexico), Me, Boni (Oregon)

The purpose of a Has Been is to be an ambassador of the Distinguished Young Women organization and make appearances that the current class can’t make. Also, part of the job of a Has Been is to act as a “big sister,” or a mentor, to not only the representative from our own state, but two other girls from states whose 2011 Distinguished Young Woman couldn’t be here, as well. Of course, I have Sierra Harland from New Mexico, and the two ladies that I have adopted for the week are Boni Yraguen from Oregon and Paige Wilson from Kentucky. I knew I would enjoy being a big to these amazing girls, but I had no idea the overwhelming emotions I would feel.  The first time I saw each of them under the spotlight, a lump the size of the state of Alabama crept into my throat. I was actually so emotional about seeing my girls on the stage simply running through their fitness routines that I started to tear up! Unless you have actually participated in one of these programs it is hard to understand the level of difficulty it takes to be in this program. It may seem pretty cookey, but just seeing their intensity and determination just floored me. Nothing could have made me more proud today.  I look so forward to seeing more about my passionate Sierra, talking more with spunky Boni, and getting to know sweet Paige more!

Rachel Williams is a college freshman at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico majoring in International Studies. Originally from Kirtland, New Mexico, Rachel was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of New Mexico for 2011. Learn more about Rachel here!

  • Dado

    29th Jun 2012 at 13:38

    Beautiful sentiments, Rachel. Thanks for sharing your love through your thoughts AND actions.
    You are a ray of sunshine to all of us.
    Mz. Dayle (Prentiss)

  • Kinsey Crow

    10th Jul 2012 at 17:13

    Love you dear Rachel! I cried watching my girls do fitness as well. It’s amazing how we can invest in others’ lives so much. I love you! Keep living for our Lord!


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