Lauren Lanham, 18, polished her interview and public speaking skills recently as a contestant in the Indiana Distinguished Young Woman (formerly America's Junior Miss) program.
The St. John teen represented Cedar Lake in February in Kokomo, and was judged on academics, fitness, and talent and interview portions.
“This program seeks to find the future leaders of America. It also teaches girls how to become their best selves and not to change and fall to peer pressure. It really inspires girls to follow their dreams,” Lanham said.
“I did not win nor did I place in the top ten, but I was able to walk away with knowledge," Lanham added. "I feel I did my best. It was a lot of work and I learned so much from this experience.”
Lanham is a senior at Hanover Central High School in Cedar Lake, and serves as Student Council president.
“I love being a leader and making a difference at my school. Every day I am able to work with students, teachers, and administration to make the changes they would like to see and create a positive learning environment,” she said.
Lanham is also a member of the school’s tennis, golf and dance teams, in addition to heading up Homecoming and Student Relations committees.
She organized two student blood drives after learning of the impact of blood donations. “I find it a simple task that is making a huge impact in somebody’s life," she said. "It is really great to see the whole school come together to donate blood and also help work the blood drive.”
The daughter of Stacy and Mark Spejewski, Lanham plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington to study political science and communications.
“My ideal career would be the president of the United States. My high school history teachers really got me interested in politics and with Student Council, I saw how I am a natural leader,” she said.
“I love making a difference in the lives of others and that is what I want to do with my life.”