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By MATT CRANE
Competition for the title of Mississippiâ€™s Distinguished Young Woman 2013 begins Thursday, with local resident Holly Travis representing Starkville.
Travis will join 35 other contestants on stage Thursday at the Temple Theater for the Performing Arts in Meridian performing talent, fitness and self-expression in hopes of representing Mississippi as its 2013 Distinguished Young Woman.
Starkville DYW chairman Susan Keith said Travis has been preparing for the competition for quite some time.
â€śSheâ€™s worked really, really hard,â€ť Keith said. â€śSheâ€™s practicing her interview skills, working on her talent and staying fit.â€ť
Keith said the experience is one Travis will remember for years to come.
â€śSheâ€™s going to make many lasting friendships,â€ť she said. â€śI know she will represent Starkville well.â€ť
Travis is the daughter of Cynthia and Rickey Travis of Starkville, and will enter her senior year at Starkville High School this fall where she will serve as student body president.
Travis said she plans to attend Mississippi State University to pursue a career as a human rights lawyer or missionary.
Keith said Travis will perform her fitness routine and answer an on-stage question as a part of the self-expression aspect of the competition on Thursday. Travis will perform her talent, a jazz dance routine set to Adeleâ€™s â€śThatâ€™s it, I quit,â€ť on Friday.
The top-10 finalists will be announced at the beginning of competition Saturday, where the young women will once again perform talent, fitness and self-expression.
Starkville resident Mallory Pitts won the title of Mississippiâ€™s Distinguished Young Woman at last yearâ€™s competition, taking home $14,500 in scholarships as well as the Brainstorm Creative Group Overall Talent Award and a fitness preliminary award.
The DYW program was founded as Americaâ€™s Junior Miss in 1957, and is the oldest and largest scholarship program for young women with more than 6,500 high school girls competing each year.
Mississippi DYW state chairman Marc Fisher said he is extremely excited about this yearâ€™s program.
â€śThis program celebrates what is right with todayâ€™s young people and offers them cash scholarship opportunities to further their education.â€ť
Competition begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Temple Theater for the Performing Arts.
For information on tickets, call the Temple Theater box office at 601-693-5353.