Since Caroline Monroe’s two older sisters, Olivia Monroe and Meredith Monroe, were both named Distinguished Young Women in previous years, it only made sense that the youngest sister would follow in their footsteps.
At the culmination of this year’s competition, which provided $3,900 in scholarships to girls at the junior level of high school, Caroline Monroe was named the 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of Turlock.
“I did not think I was going to win because the other girls were so fantastic and they had wonderful talents and wonderful self expressions,” said Monroe. “And then when they called my name to win, I don’t know how to describe it. It was almost a feeling of relief, pure joy and disbelief. It was remarkable.”
In addition to being named as the Distinguished Young Woman of Turlock, Monroe also won the Be Your Best Self award, the Interview award, the Talent award, and the Self Expression award.
For the Be Your Best Self portion of the competition, which takes into consideration each contestant’s involvement within the community, Monroe documented her ongoing connection with her church, her participation in The Buddy Walk, which benefits those diagnosed with Down Syndrome, her family trip to Israel where they volunteered to help feed Jewish Russians at a local soup kitchen, and her time spent teaching kids how to dive into a pool for a summer program.
Monroe also secured her success in the Interview portion of the program by practicing with her sister prior to the competition.
“She just sat me down and asked me some questions, so that I was able to practice speaking without doing quirky things,” said Monroe.
When it came to the talent segment of the evening, the winner opted to take a chance—a decision which later became her favorite part of the entire evening.
Having been a classical violinist for 10 years, Monroe decided to play something unexpected with her performance of “Hoe-Down” by Aaron Copland.
“I wasn’t used to doing something fun and western,” said Monroe. “It was such an enjoyable piece to do in front of people with the cowgirl outfit and I just enjoyed myself. It was great.”
Monroe reported that the most nerve-wracking part of the program was Self-Expression, where she was prompted to address who she believed was the most influential woman in the past century.
After learning of the question a day before the event, Monroe took advantage of the time she had to prepare her answer by practicing it with her family all the way up until fitness dance that preceded the event.
“I talked about Margaret Thatcher. I thought she was the most influential,” said Monroe. “I talked about the amazing things she did, not only for her own country, but for the entire world—everything from working with Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War and fighting socialism to how she came from poor roots to become the most influential woman of the century.”
Although Monroe voiced her fears of going on stage to provide her answer, the judges certainly could not tell as she was also named the winner of Self Expression.
“It surprised me so much, it was such an honor,” said Monroe. “I was definitely caught off guard.”
When she finishes her senior year, Monroe hopes to attend Liberty University in Virginia, which is only three hours away from her two sisters who attend Patrick Henry College. There, she will fulfill her dreams of attending a Christian college that also offers a nursing program.
Upon graduating from Liberty University, Monroe aspires to become a medical missionary—a dream she has had since she was six years old.
“I’ve always wanted to go into the mission field and I’ve always been fascinated with the human body, so I decided to combine them and become a medical missionary,” said Monroe. “I actually want to go to Indonesia and work there with some friends who are missionaries there as well.”
This year’s first runner up was Victoria Sandoval and second runner up was Julia Marson.
Other winners of the Distinguished Young Women of Turlock scholarship program included: Sadie Roos, Be Your Best Self; Samantha Rodriguez and Brenda Dang, Spirit; Samantha Rodriguez and Kate Wilson, Scholastics; Kaylene Baskin, Interview; Leah Siegel and Victoria Sandoval, Fitness; Julia Marson, Talent; and Victoria Sandoval, Self Expression.
As winner of the Turlock program, Monroe will go on to compete in July at the Distinguished Young Women of California event held in Bakersfield.