Neshoba County’s Distinguished Young WomanTaylor Phillips
Neshoba County’s Distinguished Young Woman
Taylor Phillips
Neshoba County's 2014 Distinguished Young Woman is in Meridian this week competing for the coveted state title.

Taylor Phillips left Sunday for the program, formerly known as Junior Miss, where she will compete with 32 other young ladies starting on Thursday.

The 58th annual program will be Thursday through Saturday in the Temple Theater. The preliminary competition will be Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. 

The final night of competition will be Saturday with the curtain rising at 8 p.m. One talented young woman will walk away with the title of Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi for 2014 and a $10,000 cash scholarship to use at the college or university of her choice. In total, the Mississippi Distinguished Young Woman program will award over $42,000 in cash scholarships during the three nights of competition.

Taylor is the daughter of Lee and Michelle Phillips. She has one younger brother, Aaron.

"My parents have been so supportive of me. They have done everything possible to help prepare me. They've turned our living room into a dance studio and a gym, as well," Taylor said.

She will stay in the host home of Hallie Phillips of Meridian, along with contestants from Hinds and Simpson counties.

Taylor will perform an acro/jazz routine for her portion of the talent competition. Her song selection is "Think" by Aretha Franklin.

"I chose that song because it is upbeat and I hope to get the crowd involved," she said.

The busy teen worked hard on her talent presentation prior to leaving for Meridian. She also prepared well for her interview and physical fitness portions of the competition.

Taylor feels the interview portion is the hardest to prepare for because contestants are unaware of what the judges will ask.

"I have been going to an interview coach two to three times a week. I have also been going to the gym about two times a week, but I work on my physical fitness everyday of the week," Taylor added.

Taylor feels she is lucky to be competing in the state program and is looking forward to meeting all of the other competitors.

"I am very blessed and I worked very hard for our local program. It just goes to show that hard work pays off," she said.

Taylor will be a senior at Neshoba Central High School this fall and is planning to attend Jones County Community College and Mississippi College to pursue a medical degree.

At Neshoba Central, Taylor is a member of the soccer and cross country teams, the cheerleading squad, the Beta Club, Bible Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is also class president.

Taylor and her family attend Hope Baptist Church.

In her spare time, Taylor enjoys running, exercising, riding horses, swimming and spending time with her family.

Taylor has shared with us some of her favorite recipes:

Chicken Enchiladas

2 pounds chicken tenders

1 can rotel

4 tablespoons salsa

1 package taco seasoning

9 ounces sour cream

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup enchilada sauce

1 pound grated Mexican cheese

Flour tortilla shells

Boil chicken and add rotel, salsa and taco seasoning. (Take fork and mix and pull chicken apart). Put chicken mixture in shells and roll up. Mix sour cream, cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 stick butter. Pour mixture and top with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until heated through.

Sour Cream Potatoes

6 potatoes

3 teaspoon onion

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

8 ounce sour cream

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 stick butter

Boil potatoes. Let cool. Grate potatoes. Mix onions, 1-1/4 cup cheese and butter. Mix with potatoes. Add salt, pepper, sour cream and parsley flakes. Mix well and put in casserole dish. Top with remainder of shredded cheese. Bake until bubbly and cheese is melted on top.

Bacon Tomato Cups

2 tablespoons bacon bits

Medium tomato

1/2 small onion

3 ounces Swiss cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon basil

10 ounce can flaky biscuits

Coarsely chop tomato and onion. Combine with rest of ingredients. Tear biscuits into two or three layers and lay over holes in mini-muffin pan. Press down with tart shaper. Fill cup with mixture and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.

Mamaw's Pecan Pie

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup white karo syrup

3 tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1 cup of chopped pecans

1 pie shell

Mix all ingredients and pour into pie shell. Bake it on 375 for 15 minutes.

Then lower to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cook until ready.

Jene's Dip

Ranch dry dressing mix

Large container sour cream

Can of rotel

Bunch of green onions

Package of real bacon bits

8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients. Serve with chips or crackers.