York Catholic High School junior Sarah Fuller was crowned as the winner in Saturday night's Distinguished Young Women Program.
She received a $12,000 scholarship and will serve as the Distinguished Young Woman of York for the next year, going on to compete at the state competition in Johnstown from July 27 to Aug. 4.
"I honestly didn't expect it, and I am so honored to have been named the Distinguished Young Woman of York," said Fuller, 17. "It was just so amazing for me and they said my name and all the girls came over and started hugging me and I was crying. That moment is a dream come true."
The winner is chosen based on scholastic achievements and an off-stage interview with the judges, as well as during three portions of onstage competition: talent, fitness, and self-expression.
"The entire thing is just a journey from the beginning, and you meet so many people who have the same values and morals as yourself, and it's just a wonderful opportunity to shape your character and give you skills for the rest of your life," Fuller said.
Fuller performed a tap dance of "Born to Hand Jive" from the musical "Grease" for her talent act.
She won the interview, scholastic, and self-expression awards leading up to the selection of the overall winner. Other awards given out include fitness, spirit, talent and an essay contest. "I'm really looking forward to getting more opportunities to volunteer in the community with this title," Fuller said.
She has spent more than 200 hours volunteering each year since ninth grade and even received the Diamond Volunteer award at York Catholic.
That's in addition to ranking first in her class academically each year since ninth grade and being involved in a number of extracurriculars including choir, Alpha Peer Helpers, National Honor Society and Students Against Destructive Decisions, and serving as a student leader in her school's youth group, Cross.
She has taken nearly every kind of dance at MGM Studios in Shrewsbury but enjoys tap the most, she said.
One of her other passions is Letters of Hope - the organization she founded that sends letters and toys to the children at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Tennessee.
Fuller, of East Hopewell Township, is the daughter of David and Geralyn Fuller.
Central York High School hosted the Distinguished Young Women Program this year as 28 candidates competed on stage for scholarships.
Sarah Dudney, Central York High School, won first runner-up and gave a flute performance of "Sugar Foot Stomp." Second runner-up was Emily Sutter, homeschooled, who performed "Czardas" on the violin.
The program awarded more than $35,000 in scholarships to young women for achievements in education and in the community, said Lyn Bergdoll, president of the board of directors for the Distinguished Young Women Program.
High school juniors were chosen for the competition based on the caliber of their courses, community service, and leadership.
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