As the second runner-up in the 2020 Distinguished Young Women (DYW) competition, Dominique Verville says that feeling overjoyed is an understatement.
“Getting to see everyone’s talents was really, really exciting,” said Verville, who was among the event’s top eight finalists nationwide. “Everything went so smoothly. It was a lifetime experience and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this competition.”
Verville, Alabama’s representative during the June 25-27 virtual competition, watched the contest unfold from the comfort of her living room with family and friends in Montgomery. Verville won a $10,000 DYW scholarship as second runner-up – in addition to a $1,000 award for fitness and $1,000 for the interview category – which she will put to good use at Auburn University when she starts classes in August as a pediatric physical therapy major.
The national DYW winner is Elif Ozyurekoglu of Kentucky, who received a $30,000 scholarship. Nivea Krishnan of Arizona was first runner-up. DYW awarded more than $125,000 in cash scholarships during the competition.
Verville and her parents are thrilled that she came away from the three-day event with a big scholarship win.
“It’s so incredible, in addition to what I’ve already earned,” said Verville, a 2020 graduate of Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School in Montgomery. Earlier this year, she received a $3,000 scholarship from Montgomery County and $9,000 in the state finals, bringing Verville’s total DYW scholarship earnings to $24,000.
With the show appearing online because of the coronavirus pandemic, Verville was able to relax while watching fellow ballerina and New Hampshire contestant April Mauceri perform her dance routine.
“It was neat seeing someone else compete who shares my art form,” she said.
After a grueling year of ballet practice and readying for the interview portion for DYW competition, Verville is ready for some downtime. She looks ahead to a bright future.
“Distinguished Young Women isn’t a pageant, but it’s helped me grow in my confidence,” she said. “I’ve considered taking part in Miss Alabama.”
National sponsors of DYW included Alabama Media Group, the Alabama Power Foundation, Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, city of Mobile, Wellington and Bonnie Coffeen, Gant Travel Management, Jostens, Master Boat Builders, Mobile County, Regions Financial Corp., Shoe Station and Wintzell’s Oyster House.