State Bound

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Rousey competing for title of Kentucky's Junior Miss

By Donna Carman

With the video playing on her laptop in the background, Jenna Rousey breezed through the strenuous fitness routine that she’ll be performing on Saturday, never even breathing hard.
“But I thought (the routine) was harder than the local one,” Jenna said.
Ever since winning the title of Casey’s 2011 Junior Miss in August, Jenna has been preparing for the upcoming weekend in which she and 31 other high school senior girls from across the state will vie for the title of Kentucky’s Distinguished Young Woman of the Year (formerly Kentucky’s Junior Miss).
Jenna, the 17-year-old daughter of Barry and Jennifer Rousey of Liberty, left on Sunday to prepare for the state scholarship program, hoping that she will be the one who will advance to the national competition to be held in Mobile, Ala. in June.
“They said come ready to practice,” Jenna said of her instructions.
Jenna will be staying with a host family in Nicholasville throughout the week, along with one of the other participants. However, on Thursday, she did not know which Junior Miss was her roommate.
The week will be filled with the girls preparing for the four-phase competition, which gets under way Thursday at the Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington.
Judges’ interviews begin that day, and Jenna has been doing her homework.
“The news is my new favorite show,” she said, with a laugh. “I try to listen to CNN and Fox in case I have liberals and conservatives.”
Jenna is expecting some of the judges’ questions to deal with politics.
“While we were on vacation we went on a hike, and the whole hike, I was asking Dad questions about politics,” Jenna said.
Although she won the preliminary award for interview (as well as talent and self-expression) in the local program, Jenna said this will probably be the most difficult part of the competition for her.
The 10-minute judges’ interviews are not open to the public, but the remainder of the program is.
The participants are divided into three groups, with Jenna being No. 24 in the third (fuschia) group. She’ll have her talent preliminary on Friday night, which she said will be the easiest part for her.
Jenna plans to repeat her performance of “Cain’t Say No,” singing as the character Ado Annie from the Broadway musical “Oklahoma!” She’ll have 90 seconds to impress the judges.
“You can’t go over, or your score doesn’t count,” she said. “Mine is 1:28 exactly.”
A member of the CCHS Drama Club, Jenna is a veteran performer of numerous productions. Her love for the theater is one of two topics that she is considering talking about during the 20 seconds she will be allowed to speak in the self-expression part of the program.
That preliminary comes on Saturday afternoon for Jenna, as well as the fitness routine.
In the self-expression segment, in which the 11 members of her group will be on stage together, Jenna said each girl will be given 20 seconds at the microphone to speak on a topic they are passionate about.
Besides theatre, Jenna is also considering speaking on waste management and recycling.
“I’ll decide after the (judges’) interview,” she said, adding that if the judges question her extensively on her drama experiences (they’ll take their questions from participants’ biographical sheets), then she’ll probably lean toward the other topic.
“That way I can get a different point of view across,” she said.
And, as far as the fitness routine, Jenna said it wasn’t too difficult to learn. As a member of the CCHS Dance Team, she was already in shape.
“I dance already, so the counting was easy, and then there were certain parts you already knew,” she said.
Once Jenna is finished with the preliminaries, she’ll learn that day if she will be one of the top 12 who will advance to the finals at 8 p.m. Saturday. Those 12 participants will repeat the fitness, talent and self-expression segments for the judges.
Besides winning the state title and advancing to the national event, the winner will earn thousands of dollars in scholarship money for college.
Jenna plans to attend Western Kentucky University in the fall, where her brother, Taylor, is already a student.
 Should Jenna advance, she’ll represent Kentucky at the America’s  Distinguished Young Women program, formerly America’s Junior Miss Scholarship Program, which is sponsored by the city of Mobile. The 54th National Finals will take place June 23-25.
For more information about Distinguished Young Women, visit online at www.DistinguishedYW.org.



Jenna Rousey, a Casey County High School senior, is representing Casey County at the Kentucky Distinguished Young Woman of the Year program after winning the title of Casey’s 2011 Junior Miss in August.
   Good luck wishes may be sent to her at her host family’s home:
Frank & Pam Ratliff
196 Bent Tree Ct.
Nicholasville, Ky. 40356

   Preliminaries will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, and 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, with the top 12 advancing to the finals at 8 p.m. that night. Tickets are $30 per session, or $75 for all three, and may be bought at the Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington or online at www.singletarytickets.com.