Ten high school females shared their personal and inspirational stories March 22 at Junior League of Dallas headquarters where Junior League of Dallas held the fifth annual Women LEAD Scholarship Speech Competition and Awards Ceremony, presented by Mary Kay and sponsored by Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
The event featured ten finalists chosen by a committee for the speech competition, which was open to female seniors attending Emmett J. Conrad High School, South Oak Cliff High School and Thomas Jefferson High School. To be eligible for the scholarship, each student must have had a 3.0 GPA at the end of her junior year, have plans to attend a two- or four-year college or university, and have a good record of character and service to her community. In September of last year, the committee held workshops at the three schools to review the application and scholarship program. After the finalists were selected in February, JLD members re-visited the schools to hold public speaking workshops. The committee scored applications based on the criteria of academic performance, resume, letters of recommendation, transcript and an essay. The top 10 ranked applicants were invited to present their speeches in front of three judges including Jennifer Tobin, Junior League of Dallas president, Julia A. Simon, Mary Kay Inc. chief legal officer, and Nisha Shah, Dr Pepper Snapple Group director of HR Strategy.
Before the finalists addressed the crowd, WFAA News 8 Anchor and Women LEAD Emcee Kara Sewell visited personally with the young women to get to know each of them and to encourage them about the many incredible opportunities to come. The students spoke of hardships they have faced, obstacles they have overcome, and their biggest dreams after college, leaving the audience of family, friends and supporters with tears in their eyes. After the speeches concluded and votes were tallied, the judges determined the winners and awarded a total of $40,000 in college scholarship funds to all ten students based on the merits of their scholarship application and speech presentation, thanks to the generous support of Mary Kay and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Fifth through tenth place winners Eh Kaw Thaw, Elia Espinosa, Yasmin Milan, Ingrid Romero, Annette Morales and Albana Gllareva each won a $1,000 scholarship; fourth place winner Sonya Soto won a $4,000 scholarship; third place winner Alondra Martinez Gallegos won a $5,000 scholarship; second place winner Carol Flores won a $10,000 scholarship and first place winner Lal Lawmi won a $15,000 scholarship. All winners received beautiful bouquets of flowers from McShan Florist and special goodie bags from Mary Kay.
The young women expressed how these scholarships would make it possible for them to be able to go to the colleges of their choice and shared their dreams for the future, which consisted of helping women and the world. All ten finalists were truly inspirational, and guests eagerly congratulated the winners as they enjoyed cookies provided by Tiff’s Treats and other light bites.