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Mobile, Ala. – Thursday marks the start of competition for Ashley Purcella, the Albuquerque, N.M. teen competing in the 62nd Distinguished Young Women National Finals. Purcella, along with 50 other state representatives, has been in Mobile for the past two weeks participating in community activities and preparing for the national scholarship competition.

The program’s evaluation process includes scholastics, interview, fitness, talent and self-expression. During the preliminary competitions Thursday and Friday, each participant will compete in the categories of self-expression, fitness and talent. Purcella has completed an individual interview with a panel of five judges and her scholastic performance has been scored through an evaluation process of her high school academic record and standardized test scores.

On Saturday, June 29, eight finalists will be selected from the group of 50 young women and will compete for the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2019 and for a share of thousands of dollars in cash scholarships.

“The power of our youth is strong, and these 50 state representatives are the embodiment of that,” said Kendra Haskins, Executive Director of Distinguished Young Women. “Throughout their two weeks in Mobile, these young women have made an impact on the communities and people they have met. We are excited to highlight Distinguished Young Women this weekend by highlighting these participants and celebrating the thousands of others who have been impacted by this incredible program throughout the year.”

For her talent presentation, Purcella will perform ballet en pointe to “Crystallize.” Purcella is a 2019 graduate of Albuquerque Academy and the daughter of Cathi and Gary Purcella.

About Distinguished Young Women

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. Our mission is to empower young women by providing over $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, developing their self-confidence and participating in our Life Skills Workshops that prepare them for success after high school. National sponsors include Mobile County, City of Mobile, Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, Wintzell's Oyster House, Master Boat Builders, Encore Rehabilitation, Evonik, Regions Financial Corporation, Jostens and Alabama Media Group.

For more information about Distinguished Young Women, contact Tara Principe, National Headquarters Marketing and Communications Director, at 251-438-3621 or Tara@DistinguishedYW.org or visitwww.DistinguishedYW.org.

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