By Nicole Renard
Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2013
One of the things on my bucket list is to travel to all 50 states. As I boarded the Delta Airplane I was eager to be one step closer to my goal. This plane’s destination was Salt Lake City Utah. I had no idea what to expect but I knew a fun weekend filled with adventures was in store. When I landed in Utah my eyes were overwhelmed by the beauty before them as I gazed at mountains all around me. The leaves on the trees were turning for the fall season causing the whole landscape to project the most beautiful yellow and orange array I have ever seen. The mountain tops were topped off with fresh white snow as if a chef had just drizzled icing over them.
I had a nice dinner with the judges and the wonderful Interim Executive Director for Distinguished Young Women, Nicole, and then we rushed to the hotel to change before the show. We arrived at Juan Diego Catholic High School just before the show began with just enough time to meet the girls and wish them good luck. The theme of the program was CAMO. Commitment. Ambition. Motivation. Optimism. The girls did such an amazing job, I was so impressed!! I also was able to reunite with my nationals sisters, the Distinguished Young Women of Idaho, Arkansas and Utah. It was so refreshing to chat with them again and hear about all their college adventures. I have missed them!
The next morning I spent time with the participants over a DELICIOUS breakfast of homemade French Toast! The entire Utah committee of volunteers were so sweet to me and made me feel so welcome. This next story needs a little bit of background. My favorite bakery in my hometown is called Great Harvest. I have never tasted bread better than the loaves made at Great Harvest and am almost 100% positive I have tried everything in the store. Everyone working there knows my name and they even gave me a free loaf of bread on my birthday! Because of my minor obsession with Great Harvest and I knew how much I would miss them, before I went to college they let me come in and work in the kitchen, helping kneed bread!! It was a dream come true.
SO! As I was watching the French Toast being made I was raving about how much I loved Great Harvest bread and I asked Kelli, Utah’s State Chairperson, if they had one in Utah. She proceeds to tell me that they love Distinguished Young Women and gave them the left over bread during the week of the program! Then they sent me home with 3 loaves of bread! HOW AMAZING?! Best day ever. I have never been so happy in all my life. I really do love that bread and my next dream is to visit the headquarters and tour the main bakery!
Later that afternoon I was able to spend time with National Sponsor Barbara Barrington Jones. This woman is so incredible and has left an impact on my life that can never be replaced. I am lucky to have such a genuine, incredible individual to look up to.
The program was so much fun and I was able to perform my National talent. I also met former America’s Junior Miss Kim Yolanda! After the program even though it was late Brianna Bracey (DYW of Utah 2013) took me to Salt Lake City where I was able to see the Capitol and Temple Square. It was a perfect way to end such a fun weekend. Now it’s back to school! Hope everyone is having a great week. Stay distinguished!
Nicole Renard is a college freshman at Chapman University in Orange, California majoring in TV Broadcast Journalism. Originally from Kennewick, Washington, Nicole was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Washington for 2013 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2013. Learn more about Nicole here!