Distinguished Young Women

Event details

  • Saturday | April 8, 2023
  • 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  • North Middle School Auditorium N88 W16750 Garfield Dr. Menomonee Falls WI 53051

Photo courtesy of Cline Design Photography


The 58th Annual Distinguished Young Women Program returned to the North Middle School stage on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Participants from the Class of 2023 were Grace BooherShannon DohertyMarin Olson, and Rachel Ripke from Menomonee Falls High School and Ify EbijeElise Elkin, and Brooke Stanley from Hamilton High School. Siya Mahajan, Distinguished Young Woman of Menomonee Falls for 2022, gave her farewell address and passed on her title.

Shannon Doherty was named Distinguished Young Woman of Menomonee Falls for 2023. She received a $2500 scholarship from the Optimist Club and will represent Menomonee Falls at the Wisconsin State Program to be held in Franklin, WI this summer. Shannon is the daughter of Linda and Bryan Doherty. Shannon also won the Talent Award and was named the Spirit Award winner by her fellow participants.

If the Doherty name sounds familiar it is because Shannon is following in the footsteps of sisters Ashley (DYW 2015) and Kailee (DYW 2019).

Grace Booher was named 1st Alternate. Grace will receive a $1000 scholarship from the Optimist Club and $300 cash award from Community League of Menomonee Falls. She was also the winner of the Scholastics and Be Your Best Self Essay Awards.  Grace is the daughter of club members John and Carrie Booher and granddaughter of Ed and Bonnie Veth.

Ify Ebije was named 2nd Alternate. She will receive a $500 scholarship from the Optimist Club. Ify also won the Fitness, Self-Expression, and Interview Awards. The winner of each category will receive a $100 cash award. Ify is the daughter of Harriet and Godwin Ebije.

The girls spent two months learning a virtual fitness routine, and preparing their talents. They had a practice interview with judges Jim FosterAnnie JurczykKathy Matthiesen, and Meg Latus. After tech rehearsal, we treated the girls to dinner and ice cream at Dairy Queen. Their hard work paid off at their showcase April 9th. They were magical on stage!

Our program is so wonderfully successful because of the great team I have working with me. Ali Leon did the fitness choreography, is a co-host and is a contact at school for the girls. Becky Shull returned to co-host again this year. Dawn Mariscal put together the beautiful program book and Good Luck Wishes. Jeanine Dederich coordinated and Keri Duce judged the Be Your Best Self Essay. Rema Kunnath was the Scholastic Judge Chairperson. Former member Kathryn Hoff was the Scholastic Judge. Barb Burja was the Program Judges’ Chairperson.

President Dan opened the show with welcome from the Optimist Club. Kathie JensenJenny O’KeefeJoanne WannerAnnie JurczakMary Goveas, and Caden Wilson (Carol Schulteis’ grandson) sold tickets and programs and worked the doors. My sisters, Candy BlommelSue Gorecki, and Michelle Grandlic, were on hand to help where needed. Kim Wenzel was the tabulator. WendySue Fluegge and Caden assisted back-stage.

Special thanks to Danny Shepherd for providing the sound for the program and Chris Forston and his team at Falls Cable Access for recording the program. You can catch it on Channel 14 or online at http://www.fallscableaccess.com

Jason Huesslein and Menomonee Falls Recreation Department were so helpful assisting with facilities. We are grateful to the Principal Dan Gebauer and the North Middle School staff for the use of the auditorium. Thanks to Falls Patio Players for providing entertainment at the program and donating gift certificates to our participants.

And finally, our program is so blessed to have photographer Jon Cline who put in endless hours to capture all the special memories for the participants. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate to express our gratitude.

~ Cathy Sharkey

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Distinguished Young Women of Wisconsin 2023 State Finals

Shannon Doherty, Distinguished Young Woman of Menomonee Falls, was named 1st Runner-Up at the Distinguished Young Women of WI 2023 at the Saber Center in Franklin on Saturday, July 30, 2022. She also won preliminary awards in Self-Expression, Interview, and Scholastics and was awarded $2750 in scholarships. Shannon is the daughter of Linda and Bryan Doherty and sister to Ashley (DYW of MF 2015) and Kailee (DYW of MF 2019).

Shannon spent five days with 10 other girls from around the state in Franklin rehearsing for the showcase, presenting the Distinguished Young Women “Be Your Best Self” program to Girl Scouts, visiting sponsors, and participating in many personal development sessions. The girls were treated to delicious meals and bowling donated by many gracious sponsors.

Shannon will be a senior at Menomonee Falls High School in the fall. She plans to attend either Vanderbilt University or UW-Madison with the goal of becoming an attorney.

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After 15 years, 3 Dohertys, 2 Punathils, Dwyers, Pauleys, and Beckers, and so many wonderful young women, I will be retiring as the chairperson for Distinguished Young Women. This program has been my heart and soul since I took it over in 2007. The friendships I have formed with the many members who have worked alongside me over the years mean so much to me. It has been my greatest joy to work with junior high school girls preparing them for their showcase each year. They mean more to me than they will ever know. My work and family situations have changed in the past few years leaving me less time to dedicate to the program. I am looking for someone or group of people who would like to take the over the program. Please contact me if you are even a little bit interested.  I would love to stay involved and am happy to train the new chairperson.

~ Cathy Sharkey




The mission of Distinguished Young Women is to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent. For more information about Distinguished Young Women contact Cathy Sharkey at 262-844-1538 or visit www.DistinguishedYW.org.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube: www.facebook.com/distinguishedyw


Distinguished Young Women National Site

Distinguished Young Women local site (Menomonee Falls)

Distinguished Young Women Chair: Cathy Sharkey

Distinguished Young Women Co-chair: Meg Latus