"It's really made me a more well-rounded person," Lloyd said, referring to her involvement with DYW. "I've gained so much experience in interviewing, which will benefit me in the future with job interviews, scholarship interviews. I know it's helped me a lot with college interviews this past year. And as far as self-expression goes, [it has helped with] just speaking on stage, being comfortable with myself [and] being confident on-stage. It's also given me a variety of opportunities to perform.
"[During the past year and a half] I've been to the Boys & Girls Club in Cartersville several times because the national outreach program is to Be Your Best Self, and they coordinate with the Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. So that has been a really rewarding opportunity. And also I've been able to be on the state board of education advisory panel for students and that's given me the opportunity to work with the state board of education. I've also spoken at many 4-H events to youth organizations, really just pushing them to be their best selves and really to go out into the world and make a difference."
During the 54th annual America's DYW National Finals, the 17-year-old Pine Log resident was evaluated in the areas of fitness (15 percent of overall score), interview (25 percent), scholastics (20 percent), self-expression (15 percent) and talent (25 percent). Formerly known as America's Junior Miss scholarship program, DYW dispersed more than $125,000 in cash scholarships at the national contest.
"At the national level, [the competition is] pretty incredible," said Myra Hufstetler, chairman of the Distinguished Young Women of Bartow County program. "The girls are all incredibly bright. When you read their bios and all the stuff they have done and just all the accomplishments and the schools they're going to and what they're majoring in -- it's pretty unreal that you're in that kind of company. So for two weeks she was around girls that were just like her, that have accomplished great things."
Since February 2010, Lloyd's winnings at the state and local levels totaled $8,800 in scholarship funds. A 2011 graduate of Woodland High, she will attend Texas Christian University in the fall to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in modern dance.
Along with highlighting a variety of her attributes, the DYW program has provided Lloyd a platform to showcase her dancing talents. As with the two previous contests, she performed a classical pointe dance to Gavin Greenaway's "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" at the national level.
Regarded as a well-rounded student, some of Lloyd's current and past activities include: Advanced Company member at Steps of Faith Dance Company, International Baccalaureate student, Bartow County 4-H Club member and a participant of Woodland High School's dance program. Recent accomplishments consisted of placing second in the Georgia 4-H Project Achievement PA-Dance, attending Interlochen Arts Camp Ballet Intensive in 2009, and being named "Miss Woodland High School" 2009-2010 and selected for the American Ballet Theatre Intensive.
Later this month, Mary-Clayton Gilbert -- the local 2012 Distinguished Young Woman -- will vie to become the fourth Bartow County representative to win the state title. For Lloyd, competing in the DYW program is an experience she would highly recommend to all high school juniors.
"It's a great opportunity to earn scholarship money toward college, even if you're not the overall winner," Lloyd said. "There are preliminary awards in each category and also a spirit award, so there's lots of opportunities to earn money for college as well as getting to know girls in your community, girls in your state and even in your country as I have. It's really awesome to meet these girls and find similarities between you because you are academically-oriented and goal-oriented. And you create so many good friendships that I'm sure will last a lifetime."
For more information about the Distinguished Young Women of Bartow County program, visit www.dywbartow.wordpress.com.