2024 Bonners Ferry DYW program a night to remember

2024 Bonners Ferry DYW

By Piper Banning

Ana Chase and Kris Crocker
Ana Chase and Kris Crocker

There was an amazing amount of talent in and around Bonners Ferry High School’s Becker Auditorium Saturday evening as 14 young women, all high school juniors, culminated weeks of hard work and introspection, of pushing boundaries and opening previously unseen doors, each revealing aspects of themselves they didn’t know existed.

Of reaching out to lift themselves to new heights, of learning not to be afraid to accept the hand of those who would help you, to not be afraid to extend a helping hand to those who strive to better themselves. Not every girl won a scholarship or an award, but each who trod that stage transformed as few young women do, whether through a lack of motivation or confidence or a lack of opportunity.

No matter your definition of the word “win,” every one of these smart and talented young women stepped on stage Saturday far changed from when they took their first steps towards becoming Distinguished Young Women back in January.

“Distinguished Young Women is truly a transformative experience for young women in our community and they are all winners whether or not they received a scholarship last night,” said Boundary County Prosecuting Attorney Andrakay Pluid, program coordinator and 2006 Bonners Ferry Junior Miss. “I am very grateful for the support of the community that makes this possible as well as the participants who step out of their comfort zone to participate and the families that support them in doing so.”

The night’s theme was All American, and the routines and performances, as wonderful as they were, were overshadowed¬† in poignancy by moments when each contestant spoke of what those two words, “All American,” meant to them.

Morgan Tye spoke of the importance of the county fair and how much hard work goes into making it look effortless. Ellie Falck spoke of the legacy of her uncle, Tim Mercer, gone long before she was born, but an All American Badger athlete she’d love to have known had only his life not been taken in a car crash in 1975.

When the lights dimmed at about 8:19 p.m. and mistress of ceremonies Kris Crocker handed off to the panel of judges, contestants June Marshall, Amanda Koehn, Ellie Falck, Victoria Johnson, Sydney McLaughlin, Brooke Petesch, Sydney Hinthorn, Ivy Rice, Riley Kimball, Morgan Tye, Renea Barnes. Sydney Beckle, Kimberly Lucas and Alexandra Fodge all became bona fide Distinguished Young Women, each always and forever one of just 14 in the 58th Badger class so named since the amazing program came to Boundary County as Junior Miss in 1966.

Some of the night’s honors were bestowed in advance, among them the first category to be judged, the two $1,000 scholastics awards, judged this year by Alisa Goolsby, a trained professional from an Idaho University who factors in not only grades and class rank, but standardized test scores. and it’s a good thing.

Of the 14 contestants, four of them; Morgan Tye, Sydney Hinthorn, Sydney Beckle and Amanda Koehn, have been named Bonners Ferry High School Top Scholars as the 2023/24 school year draws to a close, and it wasn’t they who were named, but Riley Kimball and Brooke Petesch!

Ivy Rice was winner of both the Be Your Best Self and the Spirit of DYW awards, each bringing an $850 scholarship, Alexandra Fodge took the Self Expression and Fitness awards, each also bringing an $850 DYW scholarship, Rylie Kimball won an $850 talent scholarship and Sydney Beckle won the interview competition and a $1,000 scholarship.

Sydney Beckle was honored as third DYW runner up and a $1,200 DYW scholarship, Alexandra Fodge was chosen as second runner up, receiving a $1,500 DYW scholarship, and Sydney Hinthorn first runner up, earning a $1,950 DYW scholarship.

Riley Kimball and Ana Chase
Riley Kimball and Ana Chase

And after considerable deliberation, the distinguished panel of judges; Melissa Androsov, Priest River’s 2012 Junior Miss, Wendy Gebhart, first runner up in the 1991 Timberline Young Woman of the Year, Aaliyah Kruger, 2012 DYW participant and Moscow program coordinator for several years, Amber Prins, Priest River Junior Miss 2008, and Laticia Taylor, Sandpoint Junior Miss first runner up 2009, selected, but revealed to only a select few, Bonners Ferry’s 2024-25 Distinguished Young Woman, who received a $2,500 DYW scholarship, an official DYW medallion and a Copper Ridge Photography photo shoot.

Each year, the title is passed along, hand to hand, last year’s Junior Miss or Distinguished Young Woman passing it on to next years.

After a whirlwind year representing Bonners Ferry as Distinguished Young Woman, Ana Chase embarks after graduation for service at sea; 10 months in preparatory school followed by four years at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, having earned coveted nominations from both of Idaho’s U.S. Senators, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo.

On Saturday, Ana Chase, the daughter of Stephanie Chase and retired U.S. Navy SEAL Josh Friedman and 2023 Bonners Ferry Distinguished Young Woman, passed her title to Bonners Ferry Distinguished Young Woman of 2024, Riley Kimball.

In so doing, Ana not only passed on the DYW medallion and the title, she also inducted all 14 of this year’s intrepid contestants, each of whom demonstrated the courage and fortitude to dare, to persist … to their lifetime place in a small and exclusive sisterhood.

(l-r) Riley Kimball, Sydney Hinthorn, Alexandra Fodge and Sydney Beckle.
(l-r) Riley Kimball, Sydney Hinthorn, Alexandra Fodge and Sydney Beckle.