By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary juniors Sydnie Gould and Ivy Parker were both stunned to hear their names announced as the 2018 Keizer’s Distinguished Young Women on Saturday, May 13.

“I got butterflies in my stomach,” Parker said. “I thought I was in a dream. It was crazy.”

Before receiving the final award of the night, a $1,500 scholarship, Gould, who intends on enrolling at George Fox University and becoming a school counselor, had already racked up $750 and a silver iris pendant from Boucher Jewelers for winning scholastic achievement as well as the interview and talent awards.

“I was really, really shocked actually because there are girls here who I’ve been so proud of them,” Gould said. “I thought they were going to sweep it. I was in shock, really.”

Parker, who plans on attending Oregon State University to become a physical therapist, also won the self-expression award, which came with an additional $250 scholarship.

The 10 participants were judged in five categories—scholastic achievement (20 percent), interview (25), talent (25), fitness (15) and self expression (15).

“I think it’s really important to be able to speak well,” Gould said. “It’s good to be able to talk about how you feel and what you believe in. I thought the interview experience was a really big part of this.”

Sarah Eckert was named the first alternate, winning $500 and a silver iris pendant.

Taylor Johnson won $250 for the fitness award while Crystal Llanos captured the spirit award, taking home a $250 scholarship and jewelry box from Boucher Jewelers.

Both Gould and Parker enjoyed the relationships they made with the other girls over the past two months.

“It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life,” Parker said. “It was very encouraging due to all of the wonderful girls I got to work with. I felt a part of something. It was amazing. I loved everyone that participated with me.”

“It was super awesome to get to know everybody and that’s still the best part about it is getting to know all these girls,” Gould added.

As Distinguished Young Women of Keizer, Gould and Parker advance to the state competition Saturday, Aug. 5 at Chemeketa Community College.

“I’m just so excited to take everything that I’ve learned from this experience and apply it to my future,” Parker said. “I’m super duper stoked and I’m so grateful for getting to work with all these great ladies.”