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Harksen vying for Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama on Saturday

Lauren Harksen, at left, visits during rehearsals for Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama with the 2014 winner Madeline Powell and Kayla Sherbert, representing Talladega County. (CONTRIBUTED)
Lauren Harksen, at left, visits during rehearsals for Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama with the 2014 winner Madeline Powell and Kayla Sherbert, representing Talladega County. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Representing Madison County, Lauren Harksen of Madison will compete for the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama on Jan. 17.

High school seniors representing their Alabama hometowns and counties will participate in the scholarship competition final in Montgomery at Frazer United Methodist Church. They are competing for $41,000 in cash scholarships and more than $2 million in college-granted scholarships.

A panel of five judges will evaluate the young women for scholastics, 20 percent; interview, 25 percent; fitness, 15 percent; self-expression, 15 percent; and talent, 25 percent.

Founded in 1958 as America’s Junior Miss in Mobile, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided more than $367 million in cash and college scholarship opportunities.

Harksen hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow students at The Dance Company who have won the title. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop and contemporary dance for 15 years.

With The Dance Company, she earned the “Hollywood Vibe” scholarship, Universal Dance Association second-place state solo and a slot on the All-American Team.

A senior at James Clemens High School, Harksen participates in Student Government Association, Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and National Honor Society. She was named James Clemens Theatre’s “Choreographer of the Year.”

Harksen was 2014 homecoming queen at James Clemens. She volunteers with the drama teams at CrossPointe Church.

Her parents are Steve and Debbie Harksen. The family moved to Madison in 2005 from Rockwall, Texas.

For more information, visit distinguishedyw.org.

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