Metamora girl going to finals

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Julia Markun of Metamora, Ill. will travel to Mobile, Ala. on Sunday, June 17 to participate in the 55th Distinguished Young Women National Finals to be held June 28, 29 and 30 at the Mobile Civic Center Theater. Markun is one of fifty state representatives competing for a share of around $130,000 in cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2012.

Following her selection as the Distinguished Young Woman of Illinois, Markun began preparations for the National Finals competition, which will include five categories of evaluation: scholastics (20%), interview (25%), fitness (15%), talent (25%) and self-expression (15%). During her two weeks in Mobile, Markun will participate in team building activities, complete community service projects, interact with the Gulf Coast community through various events and engage in many hours of rehearsal in preparation for the three night scholarship competition.

"The mission of Distinguished Young Women is to provide a life-enhancing experience for our participants that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments," said Becky Jo Peterson, executive director of Distinguished Young Women.

If selected as the program’s overall winner, Markun will spend the next year representing Distinguished Young Women across the country through various appearances and promoting the program’s national outreach initiative of "Be Your Best Self." The outreach program is designed to encourage young people to lead successful and productive lives by committing to live by five principles – Be Healthy, Be Involved, Be Studious, Be Ambitious and Be Responsible.

To view the live webcast of the Distinguished Young Women National Finals, visit on Saturday, June 30 at 7 p.m. CST. To see photos of participants during their time in Mobile, visit

About Distinguished Young Women

Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Alabama, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. During its 55 years of operation, the program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 700,000 young women. Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided more than $108 million in cash and college scholarship opportunities to program participants at the local, state and national level. Previously known as America’s Junior Miss, the program announced its new name in June 2010.

The mission of Distinguished Young Women is to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent. National sponsors include the City of Mobile, Mobile County, Encore Rehabilitation, Mobile Gas: A Sempra Company, Alabama Power Foundation, Regions Bank, Master Boat Builders, Spanx and Wintzell’s Oyster House.