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(From left) In last year’s event, Cady Studdard of the Alabama School of Math and Science, Abbey Jones of Red Bay High School, Elizabeth Ann Pierce of Russellville High School, Emma Claire Bragwell of Russellville High School and Maria Estrada of Belgreen High School represented Franklin County at the Northwest Alabama Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Program. Pierce was selected as Franklin County’s 2019 Distinguished Young Woman and represented Franklin County in the state program in January.

Distinguished Young Women Program returns Saturday

Although to the outside world it might seem like an average pageant, the Distinguished Young Women’s program makes it the goal every year to present a scholarship program that awards participants based on inner beauty, judged based on a range of characteristics.

This year, 17 high school seniors from Franklin, Lauderdale and Colbert counties will take the stage Saturday at 6 p.m. in Norton Auditorium in Florence for the chance to represent their county at this year’s state Distinguished Young Women’s program.

Four contestants from Franklin County – two from Russellville High School, one from Belgreen High School and one from Red Bay High School – will be among the competitors.

Girls are judged on their grades, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression. Scholarships are awarded to the chosen representative, first and second runner-up and winners from each category for each county.

“The theme of Distinguished Young Women is ‘Be Your Best Self,’ so we always talk to them about making sure they are their best self,” said co-chair Susan Hargett.

This year’s theme is “A Star Is Born,” and Hargett said those who attend can expect a quality performance from all of the girls involved.

“These are poised and refined young ladies,” Hargett said.

Co-chair Katernia Cole-Coffey said Distinguished Young Women is unlike any other program.

“More girls need to participate in the program because it really is a great way to earn scholarships and meet friends who will last a lifetime,” Cole-Coffey said.

Tickets are available to purchase from contestants or at the Franklin County Extension Office. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.