The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 31, 2013

Janie Leland leaves for state Distinguished Young Woman competition


TARBORO — What do Diane Sawyer (World News on ABC), Kathie Lee Gifford (Hoda and Kathie Lee Show), Debra Norville and Julie Moran (Inside Edition), Debra Messing (Will and Grace and Smash) and Kim Basinger (Academy Award Winner) all have in common?

They all held the title of "Junior Miss" in their hometowns and state.  Sawyer became "America's Junior Miss."

All of these women, along with more than 700,000 young women from across the nation have participated either at the local, state or national levels receiving more than $2 million in cash scholarships and college-granted scholarships from more than 200 colleges and universities.

Since its' creation in 1958, The America's Junior Miss Program has been a highly recognized program offering more college scholarships to young women than any other program.  While many participants leave the program with scholarships, all participants walk away with friendships, life skills and increased self-confidence.

Jamie Leland, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Billy Lelend and the

current Distinguished Young Woman of Edgecombe County, will have the opportunity to take a step forward towards the national title over the next week as she prepares and competes for the title of Distinguished Young Woman of North Carolina. Janie leaves after school on Friday for a 10-day stay in Greensboro with other contestants from across the state.  She will live with a host family during her stay and will participate in rehearsals in preparation of the final performance and competition February 8-9.

Along with rehearsals, the contestants will participate in community service activities such as their "Be Your Best Self" presentations to elementary school students and visiting the Ronald MacDonald House. A large contingent of supporters will travel to Greensboro on Feb. 8 to support Janie as she vies for the title.

Anyone who would like to send notes, cards or flowers to Janie

while she is in Greensboro can mail them to Janie Leland, c/o Gary and Karen Baldwin, 5503 Rutledge Drive, Greensboro, 27455 or by calling Plants & Answers at (336) 274-8908.

Locally, the Distinguished Young Woman of Edgecombe County program will be staged on Saturday, March 2 in Keihin Auditorium at Edgecombe Community College.  Anyone interested in tickets can contact any of the contestants or Kathy Kelly or Marlou Coker.