After nearly three hours of competition, eighteen women stood nervously on stage at the Kutztown High School auditorium last Saturday night, waiting to learn who would be crowned the Berks County Outstanding Young Woman of 2014.
In the end, only one would prevail, and after wowing the judges with her poise, personality and talent presentations, Boyertown’s Danielle Croner was chosen as this year’s BCOYW winner.
Croner was awarded $6,000 in cash scholarships and other prizes, and also won $250 each for finishing first in the interview, performing arts and presence and presentation categories.
Croner is not the first in her family to receive the honor. Sister Noelle won the title in 2006, and Croner gave tribute to her sister during the ceremony.
First runner-up was Danielle Moore of Berks Catholic, who won a $2,000 cash scholarship. Second runner-up was Wyomissing’s Rachel Ohnsman, winning a $1,000 cash scholarship. Joanna Solt of Brandywine Heights was the winner of the Keystone Award, an award based on a vote by the contestants.
Stephanie Waldron of Hamburg won the aerobics and fitness category, garnering a $250 cash award. Wilson’s Jessica Kang received $250 for winning the scholarship and achievement award.
Each contestant vied for the title through a series of categories, including performing arts, aerobic and fitness, presence and presentation and personal achievement. Five judges scored the contestants, with each category being worth 20 percent of the total score.
This is the 51st year of the Berks County Outstanding Young Woman event. Begun in 1963 by the Jaycees of Hamburg, Kutztown and Fleetwood, the contest, originally named Berks County Junior Miss, has hosted 3,020 preliminary contestants and 1,014 finalists, and has awarded $328,650 in scholarships.
Previous winners and contestants who were in attendance Saturday night were recognized by BCOYW Chairman Norman Adam and master of ceremonies Mike Reinert of WFMZ.
Other participants in Saturday’s event included: Ingrid Rumbaugh, Conrad Weiser; Bethany Halliwell, Daniel Boone; Elizabeth Henry, Exeter; Jennifer Mikitka, Fleetwood; Johanna Swoyer, Governor Mifflin; Hailey Bailey, Kutztown; Alexa Zatkowski, Muhlenberg; Alexandra Hartz, Oley Valley; Rodaris Richardson, Reading High; Virginia Paino, Schuylkill Valley; Kali Wentling, Tulpehocken; Hannah Grace Hartman, Twin Valley.