By Lauren Hoppa
Distinguished Young Woman of Colorado for 2012
Recently, I passed my title of the Distinguished Young Woman of Colorado off to new aspiring young woman. It’s hard to believe that exactly a year ago, a group of us senior girls walked in to the theater as complete strangers. However, within an hour, an outsider may have thought we had known each other our whole lives. As the day continued with rehearsals, interviews and constant laughter, I realized the unending encouragement, love and support from all the competitors and wonderful staff who helped to put on the program. By the time the night program came along, I saw that anyone of us could easily win. In a way, this put me at ease going into the results. I had gained so much in the short span of 12 hours. Little did I think that I would ever have won because I was surrounded by such incredible women.
Now, being on the other side of the competition, if officially hit me how much my life as been impacted by the Distinguished Young Women program. I am certainly not the same person I was a year ago at this time. I have grown so much in the past year all thanks to Distinguished Young Women. I feel comfortable in my own shoes taking on interviews, public speaking and any other obstacles that may come my way.
People always say to take in every moment before it is gone. I believe that it was in that very moment on stage, as I was giving my farewell speech, that I was so grateful for doing just that. Awhile back, someone once told me to “live in the moment”. Immediately I was overwhelmed with how many wonderful moments that I had experienced within the past year. I am beyond thankful for each moment and how it has been a piece of my life.
Reflecting back, I’ve realized how important it truly was to “live” in each moment. Before I knew it, my time as the current Distinguished Young Woman of Colorado was up. I think that’s another thing that I have learned this past year. Sometimes I think we spend so much time thinking and waiting for a certain day to come, a certain event to get here faster, for school to finish sooner, for a trip to come faster. Sometimes I think we forget about the other half of the equation—the journey that precedes it. For me, my journey through the Distinguished Young Women program is what I cherish the most. It was so many moments filled with friendship, laughter and tears that led to the final conclusion at Nationals. And I think that’s the greatest gift all.
Lauren Hoppa is a college freshman at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma majoring in Athletic Training. Originally from Parker, Colorado, Lauren was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Colorado for 2012. Learn more about Lauren here!