Whether she's dancing or starring in a musical, Jordann Smith-Kingston loves to be on stage.

But when the West York Area High School junior participated in the 49th annual Distinguished Young Women of York County competition Saturday, she got to play a different role.

"For things like this, I'm representing myself, so that's what really made it different and special," she said. "It was cool to write my own script, almost."

It must have been a good production: Out of 31 contestants, judges chose Jordann as this year's Distinguished Young Woman of York County.

Honored: Jordann, 17, of West Manchester Township will go on to compete in the state competition in August in Johnstown, Pa.

The program had never featured so many finalists before, and to be selected out of such a great group was a "really big honor," she said.

"Any one of them could've represented York very well at the state competition," she said.

Jordann earned a $12,000 scholarship for her win, plus $18,000 if she decides to attend York College. She also won awards in the fitness and self-expression categories, which carry scholarships of $400 each. Other aspects of the program included a talent showcase, interviews with judges and an evaluation of academic records.

For the talent portion of the program, she performed a classical ballet variation en pointe - on her toes, that is.

And in the self-expression category, contestants had to speak about something they're passionate about. For Jordann, that was continuing education: She wants to gain as much as possible from learning experiences and never waste a second, she said.

Although she'd like to dance professionally, Jordann wants to go to college - her top choice is George Washington University - and pursue a marketing degree to help promote and expand arts in the community.

"I think that this program really helped me to be able to gain a lot of skills that would help me do that in the future," she said.

Jordann is the daughter of Jolene Kingston and Suzanne Smith.

The program: Since all the contestants have similar interests, they had no trouble getting along, Jordann said.

"We all became immediate friends," she said.

And the group was exceptional: The full house of 1,200 people at Central York High School was overwhelmed by the talent this year, said Lyn Bergdoll, the program's chair.

"Every group every year is amazing, but this group was just incredible," she said.

Bergdoll said she was blown away by Jordann's singing and acting when she starred in "Footloose" at West York this spring - but she was even more impressed by her internal talents.

"She's extremely motivated but very, very responsible," she said. "Just such a joy to work with - such a wonderful role model for all young people."

Distinguished Young Women, formerly known as Junior Miss, is a scholarship program with no swimsuit competition or beauty contest whatsoever, Bergdoll said. Instead, it focuses on each girl being her best self, she said.

"They learn about themselves, and they learn that they can just do more and more," Bergdoll said. "They can achieve anything they want to. It's just empowering."

Information about next year's competition will be presented in the fall to female juniors in high schools around the county.

Winners:

Jordann Smith-Kingston, West York Area High School: $12,000, plus $18,000 from York College if she decides to attend

First Runner Up:

Alison Liu, York Suburban High School: $5,000

Second Runner Up:

Madelyn Devlin, York Catholic High School: $4,000

Finalists:

Julianna Kates, York Suburban High School: $2,000

Sarah Lytle, Dallastown Area High School: $2,000

Cheyenne Philson, Dallastown Area High School: $2,000

Vanessa Trauger, Dallastown Area High School: $2,000

ChloƩ Eichelberger Interview Award:

Alison Liu, York Suburban High School: $1,000

Scholastics:

Alison Liu, York Suburban High School: $900

Monica Toren, West York Area High School: $900

Talent:

Angel Harrison, Dallastown Area High School: $400

Vanessa Trauger, Dallastown Area High School: $400

Alison Liu, York Suburban High School: $400

Fitness:

Jordann Smith-Kingston, West York Area High School: $400

Sarah Hoffman, Spring Grove High School: $400

Self Expression:

Jordann Smith-Kingston, West York Area High School: $400

Angel Harrison, Dallastown Area High School: $400

Be Your Best Self:

Monica Toren, West York Area High School: $500

Spirit Award:

Olivia Painter, Eastern York High School: $200

- Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.