Madalyn Spires named Lawrence County’s 2024 Distinguished Young Woman

LAWRENCE CO. – Saturday night, at the Mitchell High School Auditorium, 2024’s Distinguished Young Woman was chosen after a rigorous contest and show of talent and skill.

Madalyn Spires, a senior at BNL, dazzled the judges with her bright smile, fitness, skills, and goals for the future.

Madalyn is the daughter of Joseph and Shannon Spires. After high school, she plans to attend Indiana University and pursue a career in marketing.

She won multiple awards, including the Fitness and Interview category.

As the DYW winner, Madelyn will travel to Kokomo, Indiana, in February 2024. There Madalyn will compete at Indiana’s DYW in February 2024 against winners from other counties. If she wins there, she will advance to America’s DYW held in Mobile, Alabama. 

Lawrence County has had only one state winner in the past, but many times has placed first runner-up at Indiana’s DYW. 

2024 Lawrence County Distinguished Young Woman Madalyn Spires.

Madalyn said she was confident about her performance in the DYW but wasn’t sure she would win. After the ceremony, she was happy to be bombarded by some of her young cousins hugging and congratulating her for success.

Madalyn stated her mother and aunt participated in the DYW program years ago and were excited for her to continue the “tradition.” She was happy that she won and told WBIW she hopes the program grows since it was a much bigger event when her mother and aunt participated.

Already having grown from the 2 participants of 2023’s program, the DYW is a great opportunity for young women to learn professional skills and earn scholarships. To learn more, and participate in next year’s program, visit the Distinguished Young Women website.

Distinguished Young Women is an empowerment program that inspires high school girls to develop their full individual potential through a fun, transformative experience culminating in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments.

The six contestants, Andrea Williams, Jocelyn Allen, Madalyn Spires, Jillian Bond, Lila Bodkins, and Ava Bunch, sang, danced, played, and displayed their physical fitness for the judges to determine the winner.

The Distinguished Young Women of Lawrence County in their first appearance at the contest.

This year’s competition featured cameos from the 2022 and 2023 DYW winners, Mavis Arthur and Italy Lewis, who were present and participated in the ceremonies.

Participant scores were comprised of scholastics – the participants’ grades and ACT/SAT scores – (25%), an interview (25%), fitness routine (15%), self-expression (15%), and creative and performing arts (20%). 50% of the participants’ scores took place off-stage and before the program.

Each award won by the contestants carried a scholarship amount with it. The amounts ranged from $200 for category awards, ei. scholastics, fitness, etc. to the $1,000 scholarship for 1st runner-up and $2,000 scholarship for the DYW winner.

Award winners and their prizes:

Madalyn Spires

  • Interview – $200
  • Fitness – $200
  • Creative – $200
  • Performing arts – $200
  • Winner – $2,000
  • Total – $2,600

Jocelyn Allen

  • Self expression – $200
  • Scholastics – $200
  • 1st runner up – $1,000
  • Total – $1,400

Andrea Williams

  • Spirit of DYW – $250
  • 2nd runner up – $750
  • Total – $1,000
The judges observe the fitness portion of the contestants’ performances.

The program was judged by Bob Jones, Tina Weigel, and Emilee Smith.

Bob Jones

Bob Jones is the Chief Agencies Officer for Agency Insurance Partners, an international independent insurance agency acquisition company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Houston, Texas. He graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Organizational Communications.

Bob has served in various roles within different pageant scholarship organizations. Most recently, he served as the State Executive Director for the Miss Indiana Volunteer Scholarship Pageant, the state pageant for Miss Volunteer America. He has made it one of his missions in life to help young women become empowered to achieve success and become the best representatives of their brand.

Bob enjoys traveling, collecting and selling antiques, working with animal rescue organizations, remodeling homes, and spending time with his two grandsons, Ben and Abe, eight and six years old, and seven furry four-legged children.

Tina Weigel

Tina Weigel has been involved in the Plainfield DYW program for 11 years and chairman for eight years. All four of her children graduated from Plainfield High School and are adults now pursuing their careers, the last one in college at Purdue University.

She has seen many changes in the program since being named Brownsburg Junior Miss in 1987, including program name changes and changes in dress and attire. She feels like the Program has changed for the better in , many ways and still focuses on empowering young women to “be their best selves”. Tina recently completed her Master of Arts in Teaching from Marian University and returned to the classroom after taking years off to raise her family. She teaches Third-Grade at North Wayne Elementary School. Tina lives at Heritage Lake – a community west of Danville, Indiana, and enjoys lake life from her screened back porch with her cat, Gracie.

Emilee Smith

Emilee graduated as the Valedictorian of Cascade High School in 2009. She pursued her higher education at the University of Indianapolis, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Computer Information Systems and an MBA in Global Supply Chain Management. Emilee was the 2009 Plainfield’s Junior Miss and won a scholastics award at the Indiana Program the same year.

Since 2012, Emilee has loved being part of London Witte, where she has become a partner and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Emilee loves her clients and being a leader of the firm.

She shares her life with her loving husband, Michael, and they are blessed with three beautiful daughters, Dylan, Hallie, and Allia, along with three female dogs. Emilee’s true passions come to life outside her professional and family life. She cherishes the outdoors, finding solace in activities like hiking and making memories with her family. Emilee also deeply loves reading, making it an essential part of her life.

The contestants waiting for the announcement of 2024’s DYW.

In addition to the judges, this program would not be possible without the generosity of the DYW Sponsors:


  • Bedford Tri Kappa
  • Bedford Lions Club
  • Bedford Federal Savings Bank 
  • Gold 
  • Dr. and Mrs. Douglas Weir 
  • Mr. David George 
  • Mr. and Mrs. Steve Warren 
  • Keach and Grove 
  • Mr. and Mrs. Brad Menaugh 
  • Silver
  • Ms. Karen Reuter
  • Day and Carter Mortuary
  • Mitchell Tri Kappa 
  • Mr. and Mrs. Victor Makximenko
  • Mr. Bob Jones
  • Ms. Julie Hewetson

Distinguished Young Women

DYW, formerly known as Junior Miss, was founded in 1958 in Mobile, Alabama. Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. For more than 50 years, the program was known as America’s Junior Miss.

In 2010, it officially changed its name to Distinguished Young Women. Last year, DYW made more than $1 billion in cash tuition and college-granted scholarships available nationally. In addition to cash scholarships, Distinguished Young Women participants are eligible for college-granted scholarships from over 100 colleges and universities.

Last year, participants received over $2.1 million in cash scholarships through DYW programs nationwide.