Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

February 13, 2014

Beyond the heels

Distinguished Young Women of Indiana contestants say pageant values 'what's on the inside'

Caitie Perkins says she sings – just not for anyone outside of her Howard County church.

“I don’t perform,” the Northwestern High School Senior said.

Except this weekend she will.

She’ll sing Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” made popular in the movie “Pitch Perfect,” and she’ll belt it out in front of hundreds of people at the Distinguished Young Women of Indiana scholarship competition.

Perkins will be vying for a share of $25,500 in scholarships during the pageant, which is held over three days at Indiana University Kokomo’s Havens Auditorium.

Twenty-three girls from across the state will be scored in five areas – scholastics, interview, fitness, self-expression and talent, with half of that score coming from the interview and talent portions.

Perkins described herself as a pageant girl.

“I really love to wear dresses and look pretty,” she said.

She once won the Junior Miss Howard County pageant. Two years ago she was named first runner up in the Miss Howard County pageant, and last year she earned the title of Miss Congeniality there.

This is her first and only chance to be named the Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana, though, since it’s open only to high school seniors. And somehow, this one means more to her than the others.

She declared that it’s her favorite pageant so far.

“Other pageants are about how you look on stage,” she said. “This pageant is really about what’s on the inside, about how you treat others and where your heart is.”

The judges really look at how involved you are in your school and community, she said.

Perkins is a member of the Chapel Hill Christian Church Youth Group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, student council, rotary club and tutoring club. She’s also a varsity cheerleader.

Judges will likely ask her about her involvement in those clubs and about current events during her 10-minute interview with judges.

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