The Triton Distinguished Young Woman Board of Directors are proud to introduce the five young ladies who will vie for $4,900 in college scholarships and the opportunity to represent the community as the 58th Distinguished Young Woman of Triton.

Tickets to the scholarship program, to be held on Saturday, October 9, 2021, can be purchased from the contestants or at the door for $6. Triton’s Performing Arts Center will open at 6:30 PM with the program starting at 7:00 PM.

The five young women competing will be evaluated by a panel of judges in the following categories: Scholastics (25%), Interview (25%), Talent (20%), Fitness (15%), and

Self-Expression (15%). The winner of Triton’s DYW will join other high school senior girls from across the state to compete for Indiana’s Distinguished Young Women. The journey will continue for the winner of the state competition at the 64th annual America’s Distinguished Young Women Finals where she will join 51 other representatives from across the country in competing for cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America.

The 2022 participants are…

#1 – Sadie Barber is the daughter of Jill and Kevin Barber of Bourbon. Sadie plans to study veterinary medicine at Stetson University. Her activities include Triton FFA President, Varsity Tennis, 10 year Marshall County 4-H Member, National Honors Society, and Senior Squad. Sadie recently earned her FFA Hoosier Degree. She has volunteered her time to the elderly at the Garden Court, maintaining the grounds of the Bourbon Bible Church, and assisting with interviewing new teachers at Triton High School. In her spare time she enjoys horseback riding, photography, farming dairy beef, gardening, and fishing. Sadie will be performing a science experiment as her on stage talent.

#2 – Melissa Slabaugh is the daughter of Anna and Dennis Slabaugh of Bourbon. Melissa plans to attend Ball State University where she will major in elementary education. Her activities include National Honor Society, Science Club, Spanish Club, and FCS. She has volunteered her time during Triton Gives Back and working the concession stand during school sporting events. In her spare time she enjoys reading, watching movies, teaching her dog new tricks, and painting. Melissa will be singing ‘My Shot’ from the musical Hamilton as her on stage talent.

#3 – HaileyJo Mendoza of Bourbon is the daughter of Mellonie Mendoza. HaileyJo plans to attend Indiana State University and study criminal profiling. Throughout high school, HaileyJo has participated as Student Council Vice President, Choir Section Leader, Spirit Club, Spanish Club, Softball, Archery, Aerial Arts, Volleyball, Basketball, and Track and Field. She has volunteered her time to the nonprofit organization The Time Is Now as the executive producer, Cafe Manna Soup Kitchen, Monastery of the Hold Martyrs, Boys & Girls Club of Hammond fishing derby, and the Whitlock nursing home. In her spare time she enjoys playing the piano and ukulele, traveling, hiking, baking sweets, being involved in the community, and discovering new things. HaileyJo will be playing the ukulele and singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” as her on stage talent.

#4 – Hanna Hooley is the daughter of Shawn Hooley of Tippecanoe and Brandy Fugate. Hanna plans to study nursing at Indiana University South Bend. She has participated in Varsity Cheerleading, Softball, National Honor Society, 4-H, FFA, and youth group. She has volunteered her time to Heminger House, Rochester Church of Christ nursery, and has helped clean various areas throughout the town of Rochester with her church. In her spare time she enjoys studying developmental disabilities, pediatrics, nursing, and health science; turkey hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors. Hanna will be performing a stand up comedy routine as her on stage talent.

#5 – Emma Lemler is the daughter of Maureen and Garry Lemler of Tippecanoe. Emma plans to study marketing and advertising at Manchester University. She has participated in DECA, Student Council, and theatre. She has volunteered her time driving the elderly to appointments and stores. In her spare time she enjoys theatre, writing, art, and reading books. Emma will be performing a monologue of Beverly from ‘Sense of Belonging’ as her on stage talent.

Distinguished Women of Triton is a not for profit organization, with 100 percent of ticket sales and donations from the community going towards the scholarship fund and program’s sustaining fees.

Since it’s beginning, Junior Miss, now known as Distinguished Young Women, has awarded high school seniors scholarships for their academic and on stage performances. Each contestant is judged in five categories: scholastic achievement (25%), interview (25%), talent (20%), fitness (15%), and self-expression (15%). Prior to the show a third party tallies each

contestant’s scholastic score based on their GPA, SAT, and level of class difficulty. The day of the show a panel of judges will spend 10 minutes conducting a personal interview with each contestant. During the show the audience is able to enjoy the 90-second talents, a fitness routine, and self-expression portion of judging.

After all the scores have been tallied during a short intermission, the Triton DYW Board along with numerous local sponsors will award $4,900 in scholarships. Preliminary awards include scholastic achievement, fitness, self-expression, talent, Spirit of Junior Miss, and interview.

Triton’s 2021 DYW, Madeline Ritchison, will return to share her experience, take a final walk, and announce the 2022 winner.

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. Our mission is to empower young women by providing over $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, connecting with a nationwide network of women, developing their self-confidence, and participating in our Life Skills Workshops that prepare them for success after high school. National sponsors include Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, Mobile County, City of Mobile, Alabama Power Foundation, Shoe Station, Gant Travel Management, Wellington and Bonnie Coffeen, Regions Financial Corporation, Jostens and Alabama Media Group.

For more information about Distinguished Young Women, contact Tara Principe, National Headquarters Marketing and Communications Director, at 251-438-3621 or or visit