Anna Donald of Ellisville is one of 34 Mississippi high school seniors who will be competing for more than $28,900 in college scholarships when the 2019 Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi Program gets under way Thursday in Meridian.
The daughter of Chad and Brooke Donald, she attends South Jones High School. She is part of the Future Leaders of Jones County, Beta Club, Key Club and is Duke TIP Recipient. She plans to attend University of Southern Mississippi to pursue a career as a forensic scientist.
The state DYW program is in its 63rd year of celebrating and spotlighting achievements of the state’s best and brightest high school girls. The three nights of competition in The Evangel Temple Church concludes on Saturday. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Last year, Lori Feng of Starkville took the title of The Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi for 2019 and $9,400 in cash scholarships. Last week, she was selected as first alternate at Distinguished Young Woman for 2019 National Finals. Feng has won a total of $32,950 in total scholarships on the local, state and national level.
Distinguished Young Women, formerly America’s Junior Miss, was founded in 1958 as a way to reward the accomplishments of high school girls seeking to pursue higher education. This organization is the oldest and largest scholarship program for young women. More than 6,500 high school girls participate each year. Past America’s Junior Miss participants include Diane Sawyer, Debra Messing, Deborah Norville, Julie Moran, the late Mary Frann, Kim Basinger and Kathie Lee Gifford.
“We are extremely excited about this year’s program,” said Sid Wilkinson, State Chairman of the Distinguished Young Women of Mississippi Program. “This program celebrates what is right with today’s young people and offers them cash scholarship opportunities to further their education.”
During the week-long program in Meridian, contestants are evaluated on scholastic achievement, fitness, self-expression, talent and interview. Donald has chosen a Vocal presentation of “Rainbow” for her talent.
If selected as Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi, Donald will compete in the Distinguished Young Woman for 2020 finals in June of 2020, in Mobile, Ala. The winner will compete for the opportunity to win a share of more than $100,000 in cash scholarship awards, including the $50,000 national title scholarship award.
Reserved tickets for the 2020 Distinguished Young Woman Program are available for $60 for a three-night package. General admission tickets are available for $45 for a three-night package or may be purchased for individual evenings — $15 Thursday, $15 Friday and $20 Saturday. Tickets may be obtained by calling 601-480-3438.
Begun in 1958, Distinguished Young Women has impacted the lives of more than 765,000 young women. The mission is to empower high school young women by providing scholarship opportunities, developing self-confidence and teaching crucial life skills needed for success in college and beyond. National sponsors include Mobile County, City of Mobile, Alabama Power Foundation, Encore Rehabilitation, Wintzell’s Oyster House, Master Boat Builders, Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, Evonik, Regions Financial Corporation, Jostens and Alabama Media Group.