DERRY — A Derry woman is setting her sights on a national title, Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2014.
Josie Lydick will attend the 57th Distinguished Young Women national finals this month in Alabama. She is one of 50 state representatives competing for a share of more than $150,000 in cash scholarships and the opportunity to represent the program as the top Distinguished Young Women.
Lydick, a member of Pinkerton Academy’s Class of 2014, was named New Hampshire’s title winner and began preparing for the national competition. It includes five categories of evaluation, including scholastics, interview, fitness, talent and self-expression.
The Distinguished Young Women of New Hampshire program promotes and rewards students who excel academically and in areas out of the classroom.
For Josie, the award is a testament to her endurance and drive to succeed.
The 17-year-old senior battled debilitating headaches and seizures from the time she was in eighth grade. For years, doctors tried to find the cause of her illness, but symptoms lingered on. After successful brain surgery last fall, she was back at it, excelling in the classroom and in community service.
“We are delighted to have 50 of the best young women that America has to offer to come to our city to participate in the 57th national finals,” said Pam Patterson, interim executive director for Distinguished Young Women.
If selected as the program’s overall winner, Lydick would spend the next year representing Distinguished Young Women across the country, promoting the program’s national outreach initiative of “Be Your Best Self.”
The outreach program is designed to combat major issues facing children today including childhood obesity and high school drop out rates, as well as encourage young people to take an active interest in their communities through service.
The outreach program consists of five elements: Be Healthy, Be Involved, Be Studious, Be Ambitious and Be Responsible.
The program was founded in 1958 and is the oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. It was previously known as America’s Junior Miss. The program changed its name in 2010.
A live webcast of the final competition will be available to view on June 28 at distinguishedyw.org.