TOWANDA BOROUGH – Hannah Ryck found herself in the middle of a giant group hug Saturday after being named the 2022 Bradford-Sullivan Counties’ Outstanding Young Woman in the auditorium of her home school, Towanda High School.

“It feels wonderful,” Ryck said about the achievement as she waited to greet attendees outside of the auditorium after the event. “Besides winning, just being surrounded by such outstanding young women from the two-county area is just something I will never forget and truly cherish.”

“It was so humbling to be surrounded by women who are so accomplished and so young, and have such bright futures ahead of them,” she added.

The 14 finalists were able to bond during a variety of activities in the months leading up to Saturday’s event, from getting out on the water with Endless Mountains Outfitters to learning self defense with The Edge, working out at Average Tim’s Gym and with Endless Mountains Cross Fit, and volunteering with Child Hunger Outreach Partners and the Towanda Lions Club.

When they took the stage Saturday, they showed off their skills in the categories of Aerobics and Fitness, Performing Arts, and Presence and Presentation before a panel of five judges. They were also judged on interviews completed earlier in the day along with scholastics and other achievements.

“The judges have had the task of choosing a representative from a group of winners and not a winner from a group of representatives,” said Corrin Binford Jones, the 2012 Outstanding Young Woman from Troy High School and co-host for Saturday night’s program before placements were announced. “All of these young women on stage tonight are winners and we congratulate them.”

With the Outstanding Young Woman title, Ryck received a $4,500 scholarship along with a medallion, portrait, and bouquet from Flowers by Donna.

Rounding out the top five were Theresa Beers of Canton High School as first runner up ($2,500 scholarship), Jazmine Elliot of Northeast Bradford High School as second runner up ($1,500 scholarship), Kailee Perry of Sayre High School as third runner up ($1,000 scholarship), and Anna Glantz, a home school student, as fourth runner up ($750 scholarship). Several other awards were handed out as well:

Interview – Ryck, $600 scholarship;

Presence and Presentation – Ryck, $600 scholarship;

Aerobics and Fitness – Arienne Strickland of Towanda High School, $600 scholarship;

Performing Arts – Alexandria Agnellino of Athens High School, $600 scholarship;

Scholastic and Achievement – Ryck, $600 scholarship;

Keystone Award (chosen by fellow finalists) – Adelle Confer of Troy High School, $200 scholarship;

Pat Parsons Spirit Award – Perry, $200 scholarship;

Sue Stanton Community Service Award – Ryck, $300 scholarship;

Scott Wilcox Fitness Award – Ryck, $300 scholarship.

Saturday also served as a goodbye for 2021 Outstanding Young Woman Catherine Brown, who co-hosted the event, as she recognized the family, friends, OYW mentors, and her former teachers and coaches at Wyalusing for making her achievement last year possible.

“I’m standing here today because of the unconditional love and support they provided me,” Brown said. “With the conclusion of tonight’s program, I’m so excited to officially welcome these 14 girls into the OYW family. They are joining a community of amazing women who will love and support them through all of life’s wonderful journeys. It’s been a pleasure to get to know these talented and courageous women and I can’t wait to see them flourish in all of life’s great adventures.”

As an OYW in the time of COVID-19, Brown wasn’t able to experience all of the usual appearances that come with the title. However, she was still able to reflect on some community involvement, which included helping Mrs. Claus read poems during the holiday season for the Central Bradford County Chamber of Commerce, participating in a Towanda Lions Club meeting, taking part in the Relay for Life and the Wyalusing Carnival parade in Wyalusing, and teaching Wyalusing Girl Scouts about goal setting, morals, learning, physical fitness and positive attitudes as part of the On Your Way program.

“It’s been my pleasure representing Bradford and Sullivan counties this past year,” Brown said. “I thank you all for the endless support you have shown me. I will forever cherish this year, the experiences it has provided and the memories I have made.”

Before Ryck’s achievement Saturday, Wyalusing students had retained the title for the past four years. OYW President Cynthia Young presented long-time Wyalusing music teacher Carol Madill with a plaque for the high school in recognition of Brown’s service in the role.

“My parents always taught me to work hard and be nice to people. That might sound too simple, but many times it is the simple things in life that work the best,” Madill said. “Catherine embodies these qualities, and I can’t think of a better career to go into with these qualities than nursing because now we need these nurses and health care professionals so much and we need nice people in those professions.”

Connect with Matt: (570) 265-2151 ext. 1628; mhicks@thedailyreview.com; Facebook @Matt Hicks Daily Review.

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